How to Prevent Insect Bites – Travel Health Advice

Bite Avoidance

  • Where Possible avoid going out of doors between dusk and dawn
  • Wear long sleeves to cover your arms and long trousers
  • Avoid dark coloured clothing
  • If possible choose an air-conditioned room
  • Keep doors and windows closed
  • Avoid using perfumes and aftershaves
  • Choose a room above the third floor. Insects don’t tend to fly to this height. Of course they do get carried.
  • If living in the area ensure there are no open water containers. Still water is often the preferred breading ground of some insects.

Insect Repellents and Other Items

  • Use insect repellents with between 30 to 50% Deet (diethyltolumide) are the most effective. Higher dosages and non-Deet products are available for Children.
  • Wash excess of your skin before going to bed.
  • Use a Mosquito net if necessary and ensure it is correctly fitted
  • Use Mosquito nets impregnated with permethrin to discourage insects from landing on the net.
  • Use sprays around dawn and dusk.
  • Mosquito coils and plug-in repellents are very effective.
  • High pitched buzzers are not effective.

Insect Bite Reactions and Allergies

  • Creams which contain steroids or antibiotics are most effective against insect bites
  • Carry some antihistamine tablets. Remember these react with alcohol so reduce your alcohol intake or abstain.
  • If your allergy is very severe you may need to take an antihistamine throughout your time abroad. In this case, start the day before you arrive and continue to take them for a day after you return. More modern antihistamines are now non-sedative.
  • If you are prone to collapse or anaphylactic shock when bitten or stung make certain you wear a medi-alert bracelet all the time. Also inform your courier and ensure other members of your party are aware of your condition. In some cases you may consider carrying an epi-pen. This contains a single dose of adrenaline for instances of anaphylactic shock.

Easing and Soothing Insect Bites

  • Try and avoid scratching insect bites as this is how they become infected. Rubbing gently will have the same soothing effect and lead to less trouble.
  • Try taking a luke-warm bath or shower
  • If irritation is severe try sleeping tablets at night.

Getting Advice
Seek medical advice before you travel especially if you are prone to allergic reactions to insect bites. If you have been badly bitten attend a doctor on your return.

Download this PDF on How to Relieve Insect Bites

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