If you’ve been bitten by a mosquito, you’ll definitely know about it. The tiny, flying insects, referred to as vectors, leave small, raised bumps on the skin and this comes from a female mozzie targeting and feeding on your blood. Generally, they cause nothing more than a short-lived and mild irritation but depending on where you go, bites can result in a more dangerous consequence.
Commonly, mosquito bites will be largely itchy and this is due to its saliva secreting into your bloodstream when it bites you. This causes your body to register it as an allergen.
Your immune system will release a chemical histamine to treat the bite and remove the allergen, and this is what will stir the itching sensation.
However, the mosquitoes that might be carrying a disease of some sort, like Dengue or Malaria, will secrete the infection into your bloodstream with their saliva, too.
Disease-ridden mosquitoes are typically found in the more southern parts of the world so if you’re holidaying anywhere in South America, Southeast Asia, or Africa, you’ll want to be aware of some good methods to keep the pests at bay.
Fortunately, some of the most effective methods are some of the most natural ones, and here are five of them.
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The first point of call is to always cover up if you’re heading to areas where mosquitoes hang out more.
These predominantly include more wetland habitats such as marshes, rivers, forests, lakes and ponds.
Dr Nisa Aslam, GP from Puressentiel told Express.co.uk: “Wear long sleeves, high necks, and don’t forget long socks.
“This may feel hard going when it’s hot but covering up really helps to prevent mosquito bites.
“Go for shoes over sandals and a mosquito hat – Mosquitos often go for heads and necks.”
Wear light-coloured clothing
The clothes you do wear should optimally be light-coloured as opposed to dark.
Dr Aslam said: “Mosquitoes are attracted to dark colours like blue and black.”
This is because dark colours absorb more heat, whereas lighter colours reflect it.
As mosquitoes have more sophisticated and sensitive heat sensors, they’re naturally drawn to items where more heat is stored, like black clothes.
Dr Aslam continued: “To avoid extra mosquito bites, make sure to wear light colours like white and khaki.
“Not only will they help deter the mosquitoes but they will also help you feel cooler by reflecting sunlight.”
Drink lemon juice
Lemon, and other various citrus fruits, appear to be a natural repellent for mosquitoes.
Although it’s unclear exactly why, the correlation between the distinct odour of lemons and their ability to trick a mosquito’s typically strong sense of smell could be a key factor.
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Experts at Nomads World said: “There’s a reason why most insect repellants have a lemon scent and that’s because for some reason mosquitoes don’t like it.
“Adding a bit of lemon juice to your water can help you to avoid attracting mosquitoes – this is actually my go-to way to repel mosquitoes.
“For some reason mozzies love me, but if I drink lemon juice every day I really don’t get bitten very often at all.”
Diffuse citronella oils
If you find yourself fending off mosquitoes in the home, a good way to deter them is to diffuse citronella java, geranium, or lemon eucalyptus essential oils into the air.
Dr Aslam said: “Use 10 drops of essential oil of Java lemongrass, five drops of essential oil of geranium, and around three millilitres of lemon eucalyptus oil.
“I swear by the oils from Puressentiel as they are science-backed and really do work.”
Use an anti-sting repellent spray
For extra protection to apply on the go, you can opt for an anti-sting repellent spray.
Heading down the more natural route, Puressentiel’s spray contains five essential oils: tea tree, citronella java, lavandin grosso, niaouli, and peppermint.
These effectively repel the pests for up to seven hours, as well as other biting insects like ticks and sandflies.
Dr Aslam said: “This clever spray works in two ways – to repel and to soothe.”
You can also pick up a repellent roll-on for youngsters, too. The Puressentiel roll-on is designed for babies from six months and contains the same five ingredients as the spray.
Dr Aslam advises applying sun cream before layering on any repellent, but be conscious it could dilute the sun cream so take precautions when doing so.
Dr Aslam added: “Stay away from stagnant water.
“During a hot, dry spell, lakes spring to mind but rivers too can become quite still. Don’t spend time sitting beside still or stagnant water.”