Authored by Rebecca Crawford
Tropical countries are appealing and magnificent, but they are also home to a bunch of eerie crawlies whose bites can cause big problems for travelers.
To make sure you return safe and in good health, here are a few basic tips on how to keep insects away.
How to Keep Insects Away When You’re Traveling in Tropical Countries
The biggest threat to those who are into traveling to subtropical and tropical countries are definitely mosquito bites, especially in regions where malaria is a major concern.
Avoiding mosquito bites in such countries can be a tricky thing to do, but there are some easy steps you can to in order to keep malaria at bay:
How to Avoid Mosquito Bites
➠ Before you start your journey, visit a travel clinic or your doctor for antimalarial medicine. You should also keep in mind that, like all medications, antimalarials also have side effects and there are many types. There are various prophylaxis medicines on the market and each has their own side effects so read the instructions carefully. Recommended time to see your doctor or travel clinic is at least 6 to 8 weeks before you leave.
➠ Always apply insect repellent on top of your sunscreen not the other way around.
➠ Although it may be hot, wear long trousers, long sleeves and socks, especially in the evening when mosquitoes are on their crusade.
➠ When it’s time to sleep, install a mosquito net that has permethrin, impregnated. Rooms with air-conditioning is another great solution in minimizing mosquito bites. Most air-conditioned rooms are sealed and it’s less likely they will get into the room.
➠ Always use anti-mosquito plug-in devices and coils whenever it’s possible.
➠ If you’re into camping, skip on those activities in tropical countries. It’s a well-known fact that wetlands are the breeding ground of all mosquitoes
➠ Always spray yourself with the best mosquito repellent that contains at least 50% DEET. It’ll cost a little bit more, but is worth every penny. We suggest you do that on all exposed skin as well as your clothing. DEET can cause damage to some synthetic materials and fabrics so wear ordinary clothes, nothing expensive when you use it.
➠ If you suspect that you have contracted malaria, head straight to the hospital as soon as possible in order to receive treatment. Some of the malaria-infected symptoms are flu-like symptoms, like fever, tiredness, and diarrhea.
➠ Continue taking your antimalarial medicine even when you get home as it can still be in your bloodstream even for a year. Notify your doctor that you visited a country and keep an eye out for symptoms.
Spiders and Scorpions
Mosquitoes spread malaria, and you’re probably ready for that if you’re visiting a tropical country. But, what you also have to be careful of, are some scorpions and spiders that are poisonous and even the smallest “tick” might result in Lyme disease.
Don’t worry, many of the illnesses are treatable, but it’s best that you take all the precautions in order to avoid being bitten in the first place.
If you plan on going on a tour where you’ll have to walk through the bush, or tall grass, wear long trousers and closed toe shoes (forget about flip-flops when you’re visiting tropical country).
And if camping IS really your favorite activity, always check your sleeping bag (and shoes) for scorpions and spiders before you go to bed. You never know if these little dangerous thingies crawled into your bag when you weren’t in it. Keep your tent zipped up at all times, and keep your shoes inside overnight.
Symptoms from spider and scorpion bites can be various, but most often you’ll notice a red line and a sore on a place where you were bitten. Some can just cause mild skin irritation such as swelling or itching.
You can also experience flu-like symptoms like weakness, dizziness, fever, etc. If you suspect you have been bitten, head straight to the hospital.
Bed bugs pop up all around the world, and aren’t limited to tropical countries. They are flat, reddish-brown, small insects and infestations have become more common in developed countries.
Although they don’t transmit any disease, some people have pretty strong allergic reactions to their bites, and they often try to follow you home in your suitcase which could cause financial and emotional stress.
In order to avoid exposure to these small crawlies, here are some prevention strategies you can take:
Prevention Strategies for Bed Bugs
➠ Never put your luggage on the bed. It’s what most people do when entering a hotel room, they put their suitcase on the bed before they start packing. But you should use the luggage rack, or a bathroom counter instead.
➠ Before you start unpacking, inspect every corner of the room for bed bugs signs. They may be small, but they’re not invisible. Take off all bed linens and check the edges of the box spring, mattress, chairs, sofa and bed head.
➠ If you notice anything that looks suspicious simply ask the hotel manager for another room or move to another hotel.
➠ If you’re unlucky and you get bitten, wash the bitten spot and treat it with an antiseptic cream. Try not to scratch the place as it can cause a secondary skin infection. If you can’t resist itching and it becomes pretty intense than take an antihistamine.
Although not all ticks are bad and dangerous, some of them can spread some serious viral and bacterial diseases.
To protect yourself you should wear permethrin treated clothing, making sure your body is fully covered, and spray yourself with an insect repellent containing Picaridin or DEET (read more here if you want to find out more about such products and their qualities.)
When removing a tick, it’s important not to touch it with bare hands – you should always use tweezers. Grab it as close as possible, aiming to get it by the mouth that is embedded in your skin.
Never grab the tick around the body (the swollen part of the tick), and gently pull it until it lets go of your skin. After it’s out, you should wash the area where you were bitten (and your hands) with warm water and soap.
Rohan Anti-Insect Clothing With Insect Shield®
Being that insects are the vectors for some pretty serious and even life-threatening diseases, keeping yourself protected is crucial – and Rohan clothing can form the first line of defence.
Rohan’s clothing for men and women incorporates Insect Shield® technology. This permethrin-based treatment is invisible, odourless and impairs the ability of insects including mosquitoes, ticks, ants, flies, fleas, chiggers and midges to land, and so reduces bites.
It’s extremely durable too – and is designed to last for the lifetime of the product. Offering proven, reliable repellency, Insect Shield® treated clothing should be a key part of your insect protection plan.
Pictured: Women’s Sanctuary Shirt in Cornish Blue Check – $95.00. Featuring the Insect Shield® treatment to deter tiny creatures and a UPF 40+ rating to help protect you from the sun.
Before You Travel
Before you travel, do thorough research on your destination in order to find out what insects might pose a threat as well as all insect-borne diseases.
Don’t let insects discourage you from visiting a country you always wanted to visit. It could stop you from seeing and experiencing some of the most stunning tropical places in the world.
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