Everything you need to know about mosquitoes and top tips to preventing mosquito bites
When it comes to the world's most deadliest creature, we are outnumbered. There are more mosquitoes than humans on Earth and, by transmission of mosquito-borne diseases, mosquitoes are said to be responsible for one million deaths every year. The annual number of people sickened by tick and mosquito bites has also been said to have tripled since 2004 - an upward trend that is predicted to continue as global temperatures rise. These staggering statistics make one thing clear: every one of us needs to come up with an approach to prevent mosquito bites. Whether you're at home or are travelling to exotic places, are chasing an endless summer, or simply love the outdoors, follow our anti-bug checklist to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes. Knowledge is empowering. Explore our mosquito guide to find out more about malaria and other mosquito diseases. Know your enemy by reading through some frequently asked questions and learn more about the key features to look for in the best mosquito repellent. Finally, shop our range of carefully selected, expedition tested mosquito repellent products in our shopping guide.
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The information provided on this page is not a replacement for medical advice. If you are travelling to an area with disease-carrying mosquitoes - or if you think you have contracted a mosquito-borne disease, consult with your doctor. Contact your medical practitioner for more information on mosquito-borne diseases, prevention, symptoms, and treatments.
Malaria Transmission: Malaria is spread by mosquitoes and malaria is caused by the Plasmodium parasite. The mosquito in question is specifically the female Anopheles mosquito and malaria-infected mosquitoes. When a malaria mosquito bites someone, it injects them with parasites. If that person is bitten, the disease can be spread when the mosquito moves to the next person.
Where Does Malaria Occur? There are five types of malaria parasite. Malaria is caused by parasites called Plasmodium parasites. These occur across locations in Africa, Central and South America, the Middle East, and Asia.
Malaria Symptoms: The most common malaria symptoms include fever, body pain, chills, sweating, headaches, diarrhoea, seizures and convulsions, jaundice, fatigue, kidney failure, and confusion. Malaria can be very serious and even fatal. It can also have long-term health implications including cerebral malaria, anaemia, and liver or kidney failure.
Prevention of Malaria: The NHS recommends the ABCD approach to malaria: awareness, bite prevention, check if you need prophylactics, and diagnosis. The first step is to find out about the risk. After this, the best way to avoid getting malaria is to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes. As mentioned above, this includes regular application of an trusted mosquito repellent brands, covering up in anti-insect clothing, and stocking up on anti-mosquito accessories. Talk to your doctor about malaria prevention and, if you are experiencing symptoms, seek medical advice.
How Yellow Fever is Spread: Yellow fever is transmitted by mosquito bites. The specific Yellow Fever mosquito is the Aedes aegypti, which is known to be active during daylight hours.
Where Does Yellow Fever Occur?: Yellow Fever is endemic to tropical regions of Africa, Central and South America, and the Caribbean.
Yellow Fever Symptoms: Yellow Fever symptoms develop between three and six days after infection. Common symptoms include headache, fever, nausea or vomiting, body pain, light sensitivity, and loss of appetite. In more serious cases, symptoms include jaundice and bleeding.
Prevention of Yellow Fever: 30 000 people die of Yellow Fever every year. Fortunately, Yellow Fever has a highly effective, affordable, and safe vaccination available. Some countries require proof of vaccination for travel and, as a baseline, this is an important first step in yellow fever prevention. Avoiding getting bitten should also be a priority if you are travelling to an area with Yellow Fever. The NHS recommends using clothing to cover up, using mosquito nets, and using an insect repellent. Follow our tips on how to prevent mosquito bites above as part of your Yellow Fever prevention strategy. Consult your doctor for more information about Yellow Fever prevention and diagnosis.
How Zika is Spread: The Zika Virus is primarily spread by mosquitoes - infected mosquitoes within the Aedes species. These mosquitoes are known to bite during day and night.
Where Does Zika Occur? Zika cases have been reported in the Pacific, the Americas and Caribbean, Africa, and parts of Asia.
Zika Symptoms: In many cases, Zika is asymptomatic. In others, infected people experience symptoms including pain, fever, headache, conjunctivitus, and fatigue.
Zika Prevention: After decades of dormancy, the global Zika outbreak in 2015 reaffirmed Zika as an international cause for concern. Pregnant mothers should take extra special precautions, as Zika can cause serious abnormalities in unborn babies. Speak to a health practitioner or travel clinic to assess the risks before travelling. There is no vaccination for Zike, which makes mosquito bite prevention the top way to avoid infection. Cover up with anti-insect clothing and wear mosquito repellent. It is also recommended to use mosquito nets and other anti-mosquito accessories to prevent bites.
How Dengue is Spread: Dengue is spread by mosquito bites. The Dengue mosquito which is responsible for transmission is female mosquitoes mainly of the Aedes aegypti species. There are four different types of Dengue virus and infection builds immunity only for the particular type (meaning you are still vulnerable to the other three varieties).
Where Does Dengue Occur? In the past 50 years, Dengue has gone from 9 countries hit by severe epidemics to being endemic in more than 100 countries in WHO regions. The number of cases over the years has increased, as has the number of countries affected - a fact possibly attributable to increased mosquito environments and population growth. It is found in parts of Africa, Asia, the Americas and Pacific Islands, as well as Australia. If you are planning to travel, it is a good idea to do your research on updated information on Dengue and other mosquito-borne diseases prior to departure.
Dengue Symptoms: Common symptoms include headache, fever, pain, nausea and vomiting, rash, abdominal pain, and loss of appetite.
Dengue Prevention: There is no vaccination for Dengue, which makes prevention of mosquito bites the most effective approach to avoiding infection. Follow the advice above by wearing mosquito repellent, cover up with anti-insect clothing and closed shoes, and invest in anti-mosquito accessories like mosquito nets to create mosquito-free spaces while you sleep. Awareness is always a good first step in prevention. Speak to your travel consultant, a travel clinic, or medical practitioner about the risks and prevention methods for you when it comes to mosquito-borne diseases.
We answer some mosquito FAQs to give you a better understanding of these irritating, itch-creating, infection-carrying insects.
Mosquitoes are primarily attracted to carbon dioxide. Once they are in range of a target, sweat from exercise or heat could increase one's attractiveness as a source of blood for mosquitoes. Other factors like where you are and what you're wearing play a role in how likely you are to be bitten too. If you are near water (where mosquitoes breed) or in places with good conditions for extra heat and sweatiness, the potential for getting bitten rises with the size of the mosquito populations. Exposed skin in these circumstances also make you an easy target for bites.
Some research has shown that mosquitoes are more attracted to certain colours over others - specifically darker colours like black and dark blue. Wearing lighter colours like beige, khaki, and tan shades are the better way to dress to prevent mosquito bites. We have not experienced this for mosquitoes on our own safaris, but do opt for lighter safari colours if this worries you. This makes clothing in safari colours a good choice.
The best mosquito repellents are either DEET-based or the right natural bug repellent brands. DEET mosquito repellent is the most effective to repel mosquitoes - and a range of other biting insects. DEET has been around since the 1940s and has been extensively studied, used, and trusted to be the best insect repellent. However, not all DEET repellents are made equal. Look for a DEET percentage of 50% or lower, with top formulations for longevity, effectiveness, and wearer comfort. Our only choice of natural bug spray is citriodiol-based repellent, which works against mosquitoes and a number of flying and biting insects.
Mosquito nets are a simple way to create a mosquito-free space while you sleep.
DEET was originally developed for use by the U.S. Army in the 1940s. Since then, it has seen billions of applications around the world. It has been the subject of many studies and tests and comes recommended and endorsed as one of the top forms of insect protection by top international organisations and regulators. In formulations with 50% DEET content and lower, you get the balance of safe and effective insect repellent.
We rely on natural mosquito repellent with citriodiol as the active ingredient for protection in Africa, during summertime, and whenever we are outdoors. While citriodiol is relatively new as an ingredient, it has received the stamp of approval for safety and efficacy from a range of authorities and regulatory bodies around the world and is a top choice for anyone looking for chemical-free and environmentally kind bug spray options.
The best way to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes is to use an effective DEET mosquito repellent or a trusted citriodiol-based natural mosquito repellent. Enhance your protection by covering up with long-sleeved anti-insect shirts and trousers and closed shoes. Using accessories like gaiters protect traditionally vulnerable ankles. Sleeping under a mosquito net and using mosquito control devices are also a great idea for nighttime protection. Some of our personal tactics to avoid mosquito bites include using a ceiling or standing fan to keep air (and carbon dioxide) circulating. We do this during the day and when we are sleeping. We make sure to apply and re-apply mosquito repellent frequently - especially to exposed skin, feet, and ankles. Having mosquito-free areas to escape to is also a great relief in areas with a high prevalence of mosquitoes. Let down mosquito nets early and keep ungauzed doors and windows closed. One mosquito is enough for plenty of irritation.Shop Our Insect Protection Selection >
Active ingredients: If you are looking for the most effective mosquito repellent, the active ingredients make a difference. Choose DEET or citriodiol-based mosquito repellents for the best effectiveness. They also work to repel a range of other insects, giving you comprehensive protection. If you opt for DEET, look for 50% DEET content or lower for safety and effectiveness.
Get the best brands: In response to their daily realities around bugs, top Australian insect repellent manufacturers combine all the best insect repellent features for - most importantly - effectiveness - but with properties around safety, wearer comfort, and longevity for reliable daily wear. When it comes to DEET mosquito repellent, Bushman is a top Australian brand and our choice as a DEET-variety bug spray. Mosi-guard Extra Natural Bug Spray is the citriodiol-based repellent we use for natural protection from mosquitoes - and performs as well as DEET for mosquito protection.
Long-lasting protection: While our advice is to apply and re-apply frequently to avoid mosquito bites, look for mosquito repellent that offers the added assurance of long-lasting protection and slow-release actives. Bushman Ultra Insect Repellent, for example, has Time Release Technology, which is the property behind the long-lasting high performance of the repellent for mosquitoes and a range of other biting insects. Mosi-guard Extra Natural Mosquito Repellent provides up to 10 hours' protection.
Wearer characteristics: The best mosquito repellents are the ones that have properties adapted to outdoor conditions. Look for a mosquito spray that has a light feel on the skin and a neutral or pleasant scent. Additionally, brands that are water, sweat, and rub-resistant mitigate the need to re-apply when the going gets tough during outdoor activities.
Look for tested, trusted brands: At The Safari Store, we have carefully selected our insect repellent brands after extensive testing in Africa - and we only recommend brands we have used ourselves across a range of conditions. As with all of our range, our insect repellents have been expedition tested (and worn daily) in Botswana, Zambia, and Namibia, fortifying our conclusion that they are the best way to repel mosquitoes and other insects.
Find out more about our leading Australian insect repellent brands.
⊙ 40% DEET formula
⊙ Time Release Technology
⊙ Rub, sweat, and water resistant
⊙ Top wearer characteristics
⊙ Repels mosquitoes for up to eight hours
⊙ Neutral smell
⊙ Suitable for children aged three and over
⊙ Ships worldwide
⊙ 40% Citriodiol (oil of lemon eucalyptus)
⊙ Up to 10 hours' protection
⊙ Effective against a range of insects
⊙ Suitable for adults and children over the age of six months
⊙ Biodegradable active ingredient
⊙ Made in the U.K.
Whether you are planning an epic adventure to exotic places or simply want to ensure peaceful, mosquito-free enjoyment of your garden at home, shop our mosquito repellent and anti-bug bestsellers to get the best protection wherever you are.
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