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Your Best Protection Against Mosquito Bites

Mosquitoes are found worldwide and come in a variety of sizes and colors. Both males and females feed on plant nectar and fruit juice, which is burned as fuel for flight. Although mosquitoes rely on sugar as their main source of energy, the female needs to feed on blood in order to develop fertile eggs. Males do not bite. Although sugar must be replenished daily, blood is sought less frequently. Humans are not the primary target for blood; birds and animals are the principal blood hosts.

Detecting mosquito bites
Mosquito Bites A mosquito bite leaves a wheal on the skin - a bump that is round in shape with pink or red around the edge and white in the centre. It produces an irritating itch that eventually disappears. Some relief can be obtained by washing the bite with soap and water and applying calamine lotion on the affected area to reduce the itching. Placing an ice pack on the bite will also help. If you reside in a country or are visiting an area where mosquitoes are prevalent, extra precaution should be taken against diseases such as West Nile virus and malaria. Consult a doctor if a bite does not heal quickly or if you develop symptoms associated with those illnesses.

Mosquito bite prevention
An effective way to avoid mosquito bites is to apply insect repellent. Repellents that contain DEET, lemon eucalyptus, or picaridin work best but are considered by some to be harmful to the environment. Mosquito repellent should be applied at regular intervals as certain factors will decrease its effectiveness. Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants to prevent mosquitoes from landing on your skin. Since mosquitoes lay their eggs in water, empty buckets and flower pots, store away toys and items on your property that can collect water during a rainfall. Most mosquitoes are active at dawn and dusk, but some seek hosts during the day.

Factors that decrease the effectiveness of repellent

  • Certain sunscreens
  • Moisture on the skin following perspiration or swimming
  • Levels of absorbency by the skin when repellent is applied
  • Evaporation due to wind or heat

Mosquito attractants
Several factors deem to explain why mosquitoes will bite one person and not another. The best defense remains a good offense. Here is a list of things to avoid.

  • Dark Clothing - Mosquitoes are drawn to dark-colors since most of them are nocturnal.
  • Carbon Dioxide – Human bodies emit more carbon dioxide when hot. A burning candle or a camp fire is also a source of carbon dioxide.
  • Lactic Acid - The body releases more lactic acid after exercising or after eating certain foods, such as salty foods and high-potassium foods.
  • Fragrances - Many insects are attracted to perfumes, hair products, scented sunscreens, and floral scents that are included in products such as fabric softeners, soaps and detergents.
  • Skin Temperature - Different types of mosquitoes are attracted to different temperatures.
  • Moisture - Perspiration increases the humidity around the body which explains why bugs often follow us during outdoor exercise. Moist plants and bodies of water also lure them.

Natural repellents
Natural insect repellents are effective, but require higher concentrations and more frequent reapplications (at least every 2 hours) than DEET products. Because there are so many types of mosquitoes, products that contain multiple repellents tend to be more effective than those containing a single ingredient. Natural repellents often contain plant oils, some of which can actually be harmful to people who are sensitive to natural oils. It is important to follow the manufacturer's instructions in the use of repellent products in order to properly protect yourself from mosquito bites.

Mosquito Allergies
Some individuals have allergic reactions to mosquito bites. If a bite causes a feeling of dizziness or nausea, consult a doctor and seek treatment. However, proper mosquito bite prevention is your greatest line of defense, and stay alert to the buzz.


Article written by Anna DeGaborik
Anna DeGaborik is the author for the All Mosquito Netting Info website. She studies insect diseases and prevention, specializing in mosquitoes.

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