Awesome Tips Traveler's Toolbox
Mosquitos are quite possibly the most annoying creatures ever to exist on the earth. They fly kamikaze-style into your face and eyes, they make their high pitched droning noise in your ear and they suck your blood and leave itching welts that drive you crazy for days.
However, when you are travelling in many tropical countries mosquitos are not just annoying – they actually pose a serious health risk. So what are the health risks of mosquitos and how can you avoid them?
These pesky insects can carry serious diseases such as yellow fever, malaria, Japanese encephalitis and dengue fever. Even if you are travelling in some areas of the lower United States there is a risk of West Nile Virus from mosquito bites.
The mosquito obtains the virus by biting a person or an animal who is infected. When the mosquito then bites you, it can transfer the virus to you through its saliva.
Another risk of mosquito bites is that the excessive scratching and broken skin can cause a secondary bacterial infection. In hot and humid tropical countries it is extremely easy to get skin infections because the heat and the moisture cause bacteria to multiply at an extremely quick rate. Red and oozing infected bites are a common sight on the legs, feet and arms of backpackers in destinations such as Southeast Asia.
Trust me, I know this from experience. While in Malaysian Borneo I foolishly ignored a mosquito bite on my toe that was becoming more and more red, swollen and filled with pus. It turned into the bacterial skin infection Impetigo, in which disgusting sores started to quickly spread up my foot and leg. I needed to have the wounds cleaned out by a Malaysian doctor and it took two rounds of antibiotics to fully get rid of the infection.
Learn from my mistake! If you do get a mosquito bite, avoid scratching it and keep it clean and dry. If it starts to become infected, see a doctor as soon as possible.
Wherever you are travelling, it is important to avoid mosquito bites whenever possible. Not only will you reduce your itchiness, but you will also decrease your chances of exposing yourself to one of the dangerous mosquito-borne diseases:
Of course, I hope this information doesn’t scare you. The risk of mosquito-borne illnesses should not be a reason to cancel your trip to that beautiful tropical country you have been dreaming about. The important thing is to be aware of the risks and to follow good practices so that you can keep yourself safe.