Mosquitoes – what’s the point in them? Nasty little blighters. They serve no purpose other than to cause incessant itchy discomfort, unsightly blotchy bites, and at worst, malaria,  dengue and many other mosquito borne diseases. Unfortunately, they show no signs of buzzing off, in fact, quite the opposite – mosquitoes are currently at record levels across the world, including the UK. The increase in mosquitoes on home turf is due to warm, mild and increasingly wet weather, which offers ideal breeding conditions for insects, including mozzies.

Fortunately, malaria is not common in the UK (malaria has not been present in Britain since the 1930s), and on the whole the mosquitoes we come into contact with cause nothing more than an irritating buzz and subsequent itch fest. However, malaria is a very serious disease blighting many countries across the world; malaria causes 1 million deaths every year and every 30 seconds a malaria death occurs.

So, if you have been bitten by the travel bug (excuse the pun) and are planning on visiting countries such as India and Indonesia where mosquitoes are rife – and in some regions malaria poses a very real risk – get clued up before you go and equip yourself with appropriate knowledge and protection from malaria; remember it really isn’t worth the gamble.

Be prepared

You may choose to cover all bases and take anti-malaria tablets, douse yourself with insect repellent day and night and walk around under a mosquito net all the time, or you may weigh up the risk of contracting malaria against the side effects of anti-malaria drugs and decide that you’re going to do everything you can to avoid getting bitten but give anti-malaria medication a miss. Whatever you decide to do, consider what part of the world you’re travelling to, at what time of year, and for how long you’re going for. People going on long term trips often choose the insect repellent and mosquito net route over anti-malaria drugs as they’re not comfortable with taking anti-malaria medication over a prolonged period of time. For many, the adverse side effects alongside the fact that they can be costly and don’t actually offer 100% guaranteed protection put people off taking anti-malaria drugs long-term.

Protecting yourself from malaria is vital if you’re travelling in the tropics where the risk of getting malaria is possible in any region, at any time of year. As afore mentioned, taking anti-malaria medication can cause unpleasant side effects, some of which can linger long after you’ve come back off your trip, hence why some people choose to forgo anti-malaria drugs and choose to rely on effectively repelling mosquitoes as their main form of protection. This is often a sound choice, however, the key to this approach being a safe option heavily relies on choosing the right mosquito repellent products. Historically, DEET has reigned supreme when it comes to combating mosquitoes, however, insect repellents have moved on since DEET (a deadly insecticide that is powerful enough to melt plastic) with some excellent 100% natural insect repellents now offering equal – or indeed higher – efficacy than many DEET repellents.

Due to DEET’s worldwide prevalence, mosquitoes have built up a resistance to toxic chemicals like DEET, which is why it is no longer as effective as it was 50 years ago. Mosquitoes have been around for over 120 million years – a lot longer than we have! In that time they have mutated into around 3,500 different species, so dastardly they may be but they are highly resilient, adaptable and for many, deadly.

Go incognito 

Clinically proven to combat mosquitoes (and all other biting insects) but made without toxic chemicals, parabens and SLS, incognito insect repellent products are made using 100% natural ingredients and are 100% DEET free. incognito’s insect repellent spray offers 100% protection (for up to 5 hours) and is stronger than any DEET product currently on the market. Made from 100% natural ingredients, incognito insect repellent products are safe for all the family, even babies (although do a patch test), and unlike DEET won’t damage skin, clothing, or leave an unpleasant greasy residue and overwhelming smell. All incognito products have been fully tested and meet UK safety and efficacy standards. The new active ingredient in the newly formulated incognito anti mosquito repellent spray, eucalyptus maculata citriodora, has been rigorously tested under extreme conditions by one of the worlds’ leading universities on African mosquitoes, and scored 100% efficacy in all tests.

Cause mozzie mayhem!

Mozzie magnet or not, as well as being liberal with a decent insect repellent spray, it is also imperative to sleep under a mosquito net at night (preferably impregnated), as no insect repellent will protect you for the entire night. Even the most effective insect repellent such as incognito’s have a time limit (up to 5 hours), plus this will differ from person to person depending on how large they are and much they sweat, swim, shower, etc. Also, keep in mind that many toiletries contain insect attractants, for example lactic acid and lavender, which can be found in several skincare products. Conversely, mosquitoes dislike citronella (Java citronella especially) and lemongrass. Sweat also attracts mosquitoes, as does dead skin, so exfoliate well with a loofah (unlike synthetic exfoliants and sponges loofhas microscopic hairs remove virtually all the detritus from skin’s pores) before and during your holiday. incognito’s product range includes a hair and body wash, soap, deodorant and body moisturiser, which used in addition to the spray, will help offer reliable and consistent protection from mosquitoes.

Many plug-ins and nearly all mosquito coils emit toxic vapours so only use them to clear a closed room or while outside. incognito’s Citronella Incense Sticks are another good weapon to add to your mosquito-repelling arsenal and are non-toxic, chemical free and safe to burn indoors (with proper ventilation when inhabited). Using an LLI mosquito net, such as those sold on incognito’s website, is the only sure-fire way of not getting bitten during the night. incognito’s insect repellent spray is clinically proven to protect against malaria when used in conjunction with an impregnated mosquito net. Even while staying in upmarket accommodation check that impregnated nets are provided, if not, take your own.

In a nutshell

Whether you decide to take anti-malaria tablets or choose to rely on protecting yourself from mosquitoes and avoiding getting bitten in the first place, remember: no anti-malaria drugs or insect repellent is 100% effective. You can’t fully protect yourself from contracting malaria all of the time – and it only takes a single bite – but you can ensure that you are aware of all the options available to you, identify how high risk the area you are travelling to is, ditto the time of year, and do everything you can to avoid getting bitten. Ultimately, it all boils down to effective risk management.

Incognito’s C.L.O.A.K

C – Cover up arms and legs with suitable clothing

L – Light coloured clothing is strongly advisable. Mosquitoes are attracted to dark colours and florals

– Odours, bodily or otherwise like certain kairomones (lactic acid, CO2, etc.) and perfumes are strong attractants. Therefore washing thoroughly, including exfoliating and using Incognito hair & body wash is essential to minimise your attractiveness to biting & stinging insects

A – Apply incognito spray & reapply when necessary

K – Keep away from stagnant water

Stay safe!

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