Annoying Mosquitoes and the Best Ways to Block them from Biting You
Mosquitoes are an annoying, uncomfortable reality when it comes to spending time outdoors. A blood-feeding member of the fly family, their whining buzz and itching bites can make even a family picnic a challenging ordeal. In some cases, however, mosquitoes can be more than just an annoyance. Mosquitoes have been known throughout history to be carriers of diseases, some of which can be deadly and cause for serious preventative action.
The best way to block mosquitos from biting is to create a physical barrier between them and your skin. Many companies make hats that provide roll-down netting that will cover the wearer’s face and not allow insects access. Long sleeves, pants, socks and, in some cases, gloves may also be a necessity if one is venturing into or working in a heavily wooded or swampy area where the insects thrive.
If you partake in camping, sleeping under the stars may be a romantic and humbling experience, but it’s a moonlit buffet to mosquitos and other biting bugs. Consider a sealed tent with a fine mesh covering to still enjoy nature without letting it enjoy you.
For those who wish to venture outside without wearing a knight’s armor, there are many options when it comes to topical sprays and lotions to dissuade mosquitos from attacking. While diethyltoluamide, commonly referred to as DEET, has raised subtle health concerns, when applied as directed it is still the most effective chemical weapon against biting pests. Apply DEET-containing insect repellent to exposed areas of skin before going outdoors. Do not apply the spray to areas that will be covered by clothing, avoid the facial area and fingertips to avoid eye irritation, and wash thoroughly after your time in bug country has come to an end.
While there are other holistic and mechanical means to repel mosquitos (including various plant oils and sound-emitting devices and bracelets), these remedies have seen limited and in some cases minuscule success when compared to DEET-contaning sprays.
When bites do happen, barring any serious allergic reaction, treatment is usually simple and symptoms are not long-lived. An antihistamine such as Benadryl can be taken orally or can be applied directly to the bites themselves in the form of a topical creme. Alternatively, anti-itch ointments including benzocaine are often used. Most people find that a cool shower or bath with mild soap immediately alleviates their itching.
It is important to limit itching of the affected area as broken skin, especially in a less-than-tidy camping scenario, can lead to infection.
Stay safe, and itch free!