Don't Forget About Mosquitoes as You Prepare for Your Next Trip
There's a good chance that you will run into mosquitoes whether you're heading high into the mountains for a challenging wilderness experience or a low-lying campground where you will set up camp in more comfortable accommodations. We all know about the diseases that mosquitoes can carry, and how we are susceptible to becoming infected after being bitten. However, good repellent remains one of the first and best lines of defense that anyone can use, despite all of the other insect-control options out there.
All Repellents are not the Same
It's important to remember that different repellents have different properties, and this translates into varying degrees of effectiveness. DEET and picaridin are the two most-effective ingredients, and they have been proven time and time again to provide the most protection. However, the concentrations of these ingredients needs to be just right in order to be truly effective. Popular products can contain anywhere from 5-100% of these ingredients. Studies suggest that optimal DEET concentrations should be around 30% whereas products with picaridin should contain no less than 20%.
However, products that contain higher concentrations may also irritate the skin, and it's always important to remember to wash the repellent off when it's safe to do so. All in all, the best products, that contain these proportions should be able to keep mosquitoes at bay for up to 8 hours on average.
One important factor to consider is that natural products and homemade remedies have been proven time and time again to be less-effective against their chemical-based counterparts. While there's little doubt that many of these alternatives work, they don't work for long. In most cases, they start to wear off within an hour, which means they need to be reapplied more frequently, and you need to carry more product with you.
All Mosquitoes are not the Same
It's also important to remember that there are different species of mosquitoes that carry certain diseases. Many do not carry any. Some are capable of transmitting Zika, but not malaria. Others carry the virus that causes yellow fever but not dengue. Unfortunately, different repellents provide varying degrees of protection depending on the species that you are trying to fend-off. One of the best things that anyone can do if they plan on enjoying hiking, camping or the outdoors in general is to know what species are active in the places you will be going. This will allow you to get the most-effective repellent possible for your needs at the time.
Aside from repellents, you can also minimize bites by wearing appropriate clothing, staying inside during peak times and making good use of mosquito netting. Netting is just as important as good repellents, and you find a wide-range of suitable options whether you are sleeping in a hammock, tent or cabin.
Take time to learn more about how mosquitoes can impact your trip and prepare accordingly. While the odds of contracting a disease from a bite are minimal in the big scheme of things, remember that it only takes one bite from a carrier to become infected.