[Tips] Mosquito protection, how to protect yourself

Mosquitoes: like any nature lover, the animal photographer is confronted one day or another to coast with these bastards … oops pardon, these little insects flying stinging! Present especially in marshy environments, blood-borne arthropods can sometimes carry diseases or cause skin reactions quite unpleasant. A brief overview of methods to protect yourself …

[Tips] Mosquito protection, how to protect yourself
31/05/2007126 commentsby Cédric G. +

Protect yourself from mosquitoes
Mosquitoes: like any nature lover, the animal photographer is confronted one day or another to coast with these bastards … oops pardon, these little insects flying stinging! Present especially in marshy environments, blood-borne arthropods can sometimes carry diseases or cause skin reactions quite unpleasant. A brief overview of methods to protect yourself …

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TABLE OF CONTENTS: Protecting yourself from mosquitoes
Why do they sting more people than others? …
Why does it “scratch”?
The “false miracle cures”
First protection: choose your clothes to avoid stings
Really effective products
Tips for use and conclusion
Why do they sting more people than others? …
I often laughed when Virginie, my ex wife, was literally devoured at night despite the sheets while me, painter, could sleep in Adam’s clothes without risking the slightest blush … In fact, the explanation is relatively simple because mosquitoes, like many living things, react to certain chemical substances, such as carbon dioxide, sweat (uric acid), lactic acid and many other things secreted by the human body. We know that an epidermis whose sweat is rich in fatty acids (such as butyric acid, ammonia-like) would be conducive to repeated bites! In other words, it means that the attraction of some people to others for these little animals can vary up to a factor of 20 !!! It is also important to note the action of estrogen, which makes mosquitoes prefer, in general, women to men.

It also seems that some drugs have an attractive action on arthropods biting, including some treatments against cholesterol or cardiovascular disorders … And it would be the same for some cosmetics (decidedly, the ladies are not helped!)

Why does it “scratch”?
We must first know that only the female mosquito bites. Its physiological needs imply the necessity of finding blood to carry out the gestation of its eggs; for that, she will pump blood where she finds it! Pricking the human epidermis does not in itself cause pain or itching; it is when it injects its saliva (a powerful anti-coagulant which neutralizes the platelets so that the blood remains liquid and can be more easily sucked) that our organism reacts: the mast cells, specialized cells located in the lower layer of the dermis, secrete among others histamine.

This neuromediator, which is also secreted during allergic reactions, is the main cause of the itching and redness that accompany it! The itching sensation begins in the minute following histamine secretion, continues for 2 to 3 minutes, to fade about 10 minutes later … It is very difficult not to scratch!

It is during the injection of its saliva, that the mosquito can communicate certain diseases to the man (chikungunia …)

One trick to avoid itching that works very well, when you have just been stung, is to have a smoker within your reach: gently approach a cigarette (lit, obviously …) near the button for a few seconds to heat the skin, and you will see that very quickly, the itching disappear (also works on wasp stings and other insects …)
The “false miracle cures”
There are two major scams related to mosquito protection: lemongrass, and electronic ultrasonic systems!

Lemongrass and its derivatives based on essential oils are indeed effective on some species of biting arthropods … except that this rarely exceeds 15 minutes. Which greatly limits his interest …

As for ultrasound systems, based on the generation of frequencies supposed to reproduce the flapping wings of male mosquitoes to drive away the females (by the way, one wonders why it would take them away), they are de facto totally ineffective! The demonstration is very simple: even within the same species, the sound frequency generated by the flapping of wings varies according to the size of the individuals! In addition, this frequency varies greatly from one species to another (note: there would be more than 300 species and subspecies of mosquitoes in France alone) … which tends to prove the absolute inefficiency of this scheme. Incidentally, a system generating ultrasound to approach wild animals does not really seem to me an elegant solution … because they, unlike us poor humans, perceive the high frequencies!

First protect

On the market for over 50 years, Diethyl Toluamide (more simply called DEET) still remains one of the most effective. Relatively disgruntled because of numerous cases of intolerance (and even 2 deaths due to massive use!), This synthetic compound has the particularity of “eating” certain plastics and other synthetic textiles (watchbands, glasses, etc. …). Apply if possible to the skin, its effectiveness can be up to 10 hours after application, for a 50% dilution solution (beware, sweat or rain reduce its effectiveness, as well as repeated rubbing with clothing)

After this little presentation 😉 I must admit that it shows absolute effectiveness against almost all species of biting insects, whatever they are! However, it should not be used directly on the face (already tested without consequences, but it is contraindicated) or on young children given its relative aggressiveness. Available in pharmacies under the name Insect’Ecran (dilution to 50% DEET), it is not a dangerous product if it is used sparingly (we are very clear online shopping in Pakistan

Negative: fat to the touch (so not really nice to spread), avoid absolutely to put on its material, reserved for adults, and strong smell of “chemical” product … Accessarily potentially dangerous (source)!
Positive points: effective efficacy on all types of skin, and is also known to be effective against ticks, fleas and fats!
The IR 3535:
Substance a little more natural than DEET, the 3535 (whose sweet name scholar is Ethyl Butylacetylaminopropionate) is less famous but just as effective … a priori on some people (from our personal tests, the product seemed much less convincing than the DEET on my dear and tender, but just as effective on me as on the son!) Commercialized in 25% dilutions in spray, under the names Cinq sur Cinq Tropic (the one I tested) or Prébutix, this solution proves to be relatively pleasant to use because less aggressive than the DEET. Its smell is reminiscent of citronella (the products marketed are scented), and it is the recommended substance for pregnant women.

Negatives: a little “sticky” but not greasy (at least much better to use than the DEET …); seems less effective on certain types of skin (to be tested on a case by case basis)
Positive points: feels pretty good and has no effect on plastics in case of accidental contact! In the same way, no particular contraindication (although it is obviously necessary to avoid getting into the eyes, because it tingles severely! I tested for you …). Finally, is known to be effective against ticks, horseflies, wasps and bees!
Icaridine (also known as 1-methylpropylester or KBR 3023) is the substance that was used during the 2006 chikungunia epidemics. This molecule, which is known to be very effective, has all the advantages of DEET (repulsion of almost all biting arthropods). existing) without its disadvantages! It is marketed under the name Insect’Ecran Spécial Tropiques (25% dilution). It is also found slightly more diluted and coupled with other substances in specific products for children (at Insect’Ecran, always)

Negative points: None? … Efficiency seems excellent (tested on me and my son successfully)
Positive points: A lot! Odorless or almost, not fat or sticky, does not seem to attack plastics, effective against just about any pest …
Another molecule recognized as effective is citriodiol (I did not find any in pharmacy); Eucalyptus essential oil extract, it is recognized as as formidable as DEET, without its disadvantages (it is however not recommended for pregnant women and children under 30 months) … I am interested in any information on a product marketed using this stuff!

For clothes, Permethrin:
There is a product from Insect’Ecran Stamped Special Clothing, based on Permethrin. It is advertised to last up to 2 months (even after 5 washes at 40 ° C) and to be odorless (hum …) after drying on clothing. I use it recently, with enough success I must admit (finished the bites on the hands through the gloves!)

Negatives: Requires to be covered from head to toe (so very well suited to wildlife photographers, but not to walkers who never ride with a hood and gloves !!!) or failing that, to be used with a classic repellent for exposed areas of the body; the smell, likely to be detected by wildlife (this product is not really odorless even if once dry, it is necessary to stick the nose on it to feel it!)
Positive points: Avoid getting b

tips for use and conclusion
I will not reinvent the powder, advising to use loose clothing for the body and legs (but obviously silent and camouflaged!); for days of high heat, the use of body repellent can be done under thin clothes (or even with special repellent clothing). In terms of choice of products, I will tend to advise the couple Insect’Screen Special Tropic + Insect’Ecran clothing, for their practicality and efficiency. For the rest :

For the legs: use repellent clothing from the ankles to the knees to avoid ticks (two birds with one stone!); we can also put on shoes (always for ticks)
For the hands: prefer the clothes repellent on the gloves (I personally hate to smear my hands sticky or greasy products …) – in very difficult areas, like swamps, we can put more repellent on the back of the hand and the wrists (sometimes discovered momentarily when stretching an arm), or even as practiced in Alaska by hunters, literally tap their sleeves!
For the head: repellent clothing on the hood or headgear used, more repellent on the face and neck (or in the hair if like me, they measure 2mm most of the time!)
If you are “only” hiking or walking: suitable body repellent (child or adult) on bare areas, to renew every 6 hours (or every 2/3 hours if you sweat a lot!) online shopping in pakistan
Do not neglect the protection against small animals, which can sometimes be very dangerous, and not only in exotic countries (Lyme disease, carried by ticks, is the best example …). For information, these products cost between 6 and 9 € the bottle … So, protect yourself!


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