For most people, the annoying whine of a mosquito at night is the most they will be affected. For some however, the consequences of being bitten are far more serious.
The most obvious disease spread by mosquitoes is malaria, and whilst you cannot catch it in the UK, if you go abroad you are definitely at risk.
There are around 300 to 500 million cases of malaria each year with around 2 million dying from the disease. The worst place for infection is by far the Southern Hemisphere, with Africa racking up the most deaths.
Mosquitos spread malaria by passing on a parasite which then travels to the liver and then infects your blood.
What are the symptoms of malaria?
The main symptoms of malaria include extreme tiredness, aching muscles, fever, headaches, chills. Other symptoms might include stomach aches, shivers, vomiting and loss of appetite.
What is the best way to prevent catching malaria?
The best way is to stop catching malaria is to avoid being bitten by a mosquito in the first place. This could be by the way of anti-malarial drugs, which should be taken before you visit an affected country. However, some drugs affect pregnant women and can give very severe side-effects.
Mosquito nets offer physical barriers between you and the insects.
We are going to concentrate on mosquito repellents, the sprays that you can buy in any pharmacist.
It has been shown that mosquitoes are attracted to human within ten seconds. Therefore it is essential that steps are taken to stop them from alighting onto your skin.
But which sprays are effective?
On BBC’s Rip Off Britain, two sprays were tested, PMD and DEET.
PMD is a trade name for oil of lemon eucalyptus when it has been refined. The use of PMD is not recommended on children under three. The efficacy of PMD is as good in concentrations of 20 to 26 percent PMD to 15 to 20 percent of DEET against mosquitoes and ticks. It does protect against these insects for a shorter period however.
Suggested Products:Incognito Anti-Mosquito – £6.45
Protects against every species of mosquito, and all biting insects. Has been tested by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine on African mosquitoes and the efficacy is as good as the most deadly insecticide. More effective than DEET yet not as harmful or irritating.
A mix of both here, 50% DEET and 1% PMD, making an effective repellent. The spray gives up to eight hours protection from all biting insects and is classed as extra strength, thanks to the combination of ingredients.
From: Superdrug: com
DEET (Diethyl Toluamideis) is a common mosquito and tick repellent and is deemed to be very effective at repelling insects. However, it is a very powerful compound and can be irritating to those with sensitive skin. It is not recommended for young children for long periods and has been known to cause irritation to the eyes and in rare cases may even induce neurological damage. DEET comes in concentrations so expect to see 100, 50% etc.
Children of 6 months and younger should not use DEET. Children of 6 months up to 2 years should use 10% DEET once a day, 2 to 12 years can use DEET once a day up to three times and children over 12 years can use up to 30% DEET.
Suggested Products:Pyramid Trek 100 – £8.45
Maximum protection here with DEET at 100%. The number one repellent spray on Amazon, gives you the utmost protection in the worst affected areas. Specifically designed for tropical and extreme areas. Once you are located in towns or suburbs, you should consider moving down to a lower concentration.
A roll-on here that has 50% DEET and is therefore suitable for young adults. Protects against all kinds of biting insects, as well as mosquitoes, and suitable for high-risk areas as well a low risk. Safe to use in the last 6 months of pregnancy.