Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Ibiza Mozzie Files

There is nothing worse than being bitten by mozzies on your holidays. The unsightly sores and uncomfortable itching, that are common symptoms of the insects bite, can really detract from the enjoyment of a holiday. A tourists soft, white skin is an easy target for them, especially if a person is wearing perfumes or has natural body odour, as mosquitoes hunt and target their prey by smell. Tanned skin is a deterrent to them as its harder to bite into, this may explain why the locals dont seem to suffer as much as the tourists. A higher body temperature also seems to attract them more and tourists not used to the heat, will have higher blood temps. They are also more attracted to the sent of smelly feet.

Mosquitoes, breed in sandy conditions and congregate around water, especially untreated water. The salt plains near Playa Den Bossa are well known for the large amount of mosquitoes present. The airport is located near these plains and its a common zone for them., also the south of the Island. They are also  prevalent after a shower of rain and at dusk, when they venture out from their hiding spots in search of blood to suck. When a victim hears that distinct, high pitched buzzing noise, synonymous with the insect, then they know they have just been bitten.

Avon Skin So Soft Dry Oil
Personally, I have always had problems with them. They can be worse in some areas than others, and while a person may escape one year, they may be eaten alive the next. Built up areas seem to offer better protection than open, wooded areas. In the last few years I have taken steps to try and restrict their activity around me. I found taking a Thiamine supplement, 2 weeks before I intend to travel to Ibiza, helps a lot. The reason for this seems to be that the vitamin taints the taste and smell of your blood, thus making the insect think twice about taking a bite from you. Vitamin B-1 works even better and takes immediate effect, thanks to its high levels of thiamine which mozzies dislike.

Along with the Vitamin B tablets, I have found Avons Skin So Soft Original Dry Oil Body spray to be an effective deterrent (it smells good and is chemical free).  The active ingredient in this spray is citronella, and it seems to work well for lots of people (myself included). Other effective mosquito sprays popular with locals on the Island is Autan insect repellent.(the chemical deet being the active ingredient). The chemical disguises your smell so the insect cant see you. They also use the Albaca (basil leaf) as a natural repellent.

Other precautions to take include not leaving bare skin exposed. A favourite area for Mosquitoes to target are the ankles and feet while a person sits at a table eating dinner. Try to avoid wearing dark clothing (you wont notice them as easily) shorts and sleeveless shirts after dusk. They can also bite through thin fabrics so spray if in doubt.

Mosquito Repellent Plug Ins
They also like to hide in a hotel room, awaiting your return in the evening. They will remain silent until you are asleep, then they come out to feed on your body during the night. I think most tourists suffer the majority of their bites this way, at night time in their room while they are asleep. This is why its so important to check your room for them before you go to bed. They like to hide in dark areas like wardrobes, under the bed, in curtains and air conditioning units. Bloody splat marks on walls are signs of their presence (from previous guests). Always take 5 mins to check the room and walls before you get the sleep. Most importantly, bring or buy on the island, mosquito room plug ins, which will deter them from entering the room. Also keep all windows and patio doors closed after sunset. Keep the room air con on when you are out, as they do not like cold temperatures.

For young babies in Cots, a mosquito net covering the cot works well, as it is a natural deterrent and chemical free. Some people suffer bigger reactions to bites so its always advisable to take a good anti-histamine tablet to stop inflammation of the bite.

If bitten, home remedies such as Lemon Juice, Toothpaste, Aloe Vera, Vinegar and moistened salt, rubbed directly onto the bite will help ease the pain.

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