Mosquitos find their lunch in a unique way that leaves most of us vulnerable to a pesky bite or two when on holiday. A heady combinations of our body heat and carbon dioxide make our blood irresistible to these vampires. There are a number of theories on why a mosquitos chooses someone including having a preferred blood types to our genes, each as unhelpful as the next.
There is no denying that mosquito bites can be uncomfortable and painful and even spoil our enjoyment when on holiday. There is a long list of industry recommended, tried and tested and old wives tales to prevent getting bitten in the first place so Holiday Hypermarket tested the most popular advice to see what worked and what didn’t. And just in case our methods don’t work for you, we have included the best thing to take the itch out of the bite and give you some relief.
How you can avoid getting bitten
This one is a popular choice in the Holiday Hypermarket office with some staff claiming to have avoided being bitten completely when they use it. The product is said to give off an aroma that only mosquitos can smell.
We contacted Avon cosmetics about the claims and they advised us that the mosquito repelling qualities could be due to the citronellol ingredient. Avon do not advertise this as a mosquito repelling product but many people have found it effective in the battle against being bitten. It is worth noting the ingredient Citronellol is not used in any of the other Skin So Soft collection, so make sure you buy the dry oil body spray.
This is a great tip for anyone who likes to sit out on the balcony at unset – this is when mosquitos become active and also the time of day you are most likely to be bitten. Citronella candles or citronella esstenial oil can be burnt on balconies and in rooms to keep mosquitos at bay. It is claimed that candles or torches containing citronella can ward off mosquitos, because the smoke can confuse them and the odour the candles give off can prevent them from smelling you.
Autan Tropical Dry Spray
This is a mosquito repellent and it one of the more popular brands we came across when we started looking at these. We contacted the makers SC Johnson and they stated this product contains DEET and Icardin, both of which are well known, active ingredients which deliver effective mosquito protection. These ingredients are also recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and are considered the most effective insect repellents available.
This wonder vitamin has been recommended far and wide as a fool proof mosquito repellent. We got in touch with Holland & Barrett who sent us some Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) to ask why this particular vitamin works at repelling mosquitos. They advised us that vitamin B1 is said to give off an odour through our pores and, although it’s not noticeable to humans, mosquitoes really don’t like it.
We have tested this one ourselves and found it worked a treat! A team member took one tablet a day for a week before her holiday and continued whilst she was away. Normally a mosquito magnet our team member was very happy to return home bite free!
Eating garlic is said to offer mild protection from mosquitos as the odour on our breaths and the sulphur compounds that we secrete from our pores after ingesting it is unpleasant to them. Smearing your body with garlic scented lotion is also effective, although it may repel more than mosquitos!
This particular mosquito repellent contains 50% DEET and is extremely effective in protecting against mosquitoes and midges – especially in tropical areas that have a higher risk of malaria. This one has a rather pungent smell so we recommend using it in very well ventilated areas.
When have we ever needed an excuse to grab a Gin and tonic!? Tonic water contains an ingredient called quinine, which is said to keep mosquitos away, again because they don’t like the odour. Our favourite is Fentimans Tonic Water – it’s the world’s first botanically brewed tonic with a blend of herbal infusions, so it perfectly pairs with your favourite tipple and comes in a beautiful vintage bottle.
One of the best ways to avoid getting bitten is to wear loose fitting clothes, not only are they more comfortable in the heat, but mosquitos can bite through clothing that is tight on the skin. Also, try to wear light coloured fabrics as mosquitos are said to be drawn to dark coloured fabrics.
Mosquitos can often be seen, heard and felt in areas with water around, especially stagnant water such as lakes and lidos. Even swamps, stagnant creeks and small puddles can be a beacon to the hungry vampires especially as these areas are known breeding grounds.
How to deal with bites
Even using all the methods above you can still get bitten. Follow these tips to – hopefully – be scratch and pain free.
- Toothpaste – menthol in toothpaste has intrinsic astringency which creates a cooling sensation, that will help to relieve and reduce swelling.
- This is a real tough one, but do not scratch bites! This is really important as they can become infected.
- Cold Compress – Apply a cold compress to the area as this will help to reduce the swelling, or place an ice cube over the area. This can constrict blood vessels and decrease the body’s natural histamine release. It also helps ease the itching and swelling of the bite.
- This works – In transit first aid kits are handy little roll on that you dab on bites that take the sting out of mosquito bites. This natural antiseptic helps to soothe any itching.
- Antihistamines can also reduce the swelling from bites.
- Tea tree and lavender oils have properties that alleviate the swelling, pain and itching from bites. Tea tree oil is also an antibacterial agent that can prevent infection.
Have you found any other ways to avoid getting bite abroad?