Mosquito borne diseases are of concern when traveling to the tropics where there are likely to be infected insects. Here are protection tips to avoid some of the nasty diseases associated with tropical mosquito's.
In a number of regions of the world, diseases inflicted by mosquitos are on the rise. Fortunately, some of these diseases like malaria and yellow fever are preventable and treatable with medication, others like dengue fever and chikungunya, both of which are on the rise, are not.
Mosquito-borne diseases cause more human illness than any other organism, over one million people worldwide die from mosquito-borne diseases every year.
Insects are active at all times of the day and night. However, some prefer different times of day. For example, the mosquitoes that spread malaria are mainly active after dark but the mosquitoes that spread yellow fever and dengue fever are active during daylight hours.
Most hotels and resorts spray for mosquitoes with the additional help from sea breezes that lessen the presence of Mosquitos the beaches. However, on remote ventures in jungles and in rural topical areas, you should be prepared to take precautions.
Malaria - The Endemic Zone is in global tropical and subtropical areas. Anti-malarial drugs are available by prescription from your physician. Highest risk is in the regions of Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Central and South America, India, southeast Asia, the middle east, and the south Pacific.
Yellow Fever - The Endemic Zone is in the tropical areas of Africa and Central and South America. A vaccine is available from local health authorities. The highest risk for Yellow fever is in the tropical climates of Africa and South America.
Dengue Fever - The Endemic Zone is in the tropical areas of Africa, South East Asia, South America and the Pacific. No vaccine is available. Dengue fever is endemic in most of the tropical countries of the South Pacific, Asia, the Caribbean, the Americas, and Africa.
Clothing - Use mosquito repellent clothing with permethrin and washings should be done separately from other clothing. This ingredient can hold it's protection for up to 70 washings and can be purchased from outdoor apparel shops like REI and L.L. Bean. Clothing should adequately cover the arms and legs.
Repellents - Deet is still the most effective repellent and should be applied to both skin and clothing. Other insect repellents include picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus.
Devices - The palm sized Thermacell lantern creates a bug free zone using an invisible cloud of allethrin.
Best Practices - The peak mosquito exposure times are generally from dusk to dawn, except for the Yellow Fever virus which occurs during the daytime. Where possible, try to avoid outdoor activities during these times. Use a mosquito net when sleeping in a non-climate controlled environment.
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