Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Mosquito Magnet

I am a mosquito magnet. Adventure Man and I go to Africa almost yearly, on safari, sometimes walking, and we love it. But oh, the price I pay! Two or three times a day, I have to tend my wounds – putting antihistimine creams on my bites, which swell and throb and itch until it nearly drives me crazy.

In Tanzania last year, I had no sooner put some serious DEET on when a TseTse fly landed on me and bit me – right where I had just sprayed the repellent!

So every step scientists take to develop a repellent which will truly repel, I applaud.

Mosquitoes Target Exhaled Breath

The mechanism mosquitoes use to zero in on their targets has been discovered by scientists in New York. It is already known that the insects are very sensitive to carbon dioxide in exhaled breath.

Now a team led by Rockefeller University has found that they sense the gas using protein receptors in the structure extending from their jaws.

Writing in Nature, they say the discovery could aid the fight against insect-born diseases, such as malaria.

Read the rest of the article at BBC Health News.

I’m not ready to stop breathing! But maybe they could develop a gum I could chew that would mask the carbon dioxide I exhale?

March 25, 2007 - Posted by | Adventure, Africa, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Health Issues, Living Conditions, Tanzania, Travel

6 Comments »

  1. In her very useful book “An Explorer’s Handbook: An Unconventional Guide for Travelers to Remote Regions,” Chistina Dodwell suggested two tablespoons of vinegar in a glass of water — drink it down, and nothing bites you for 24 hours. It tastes disgusting, but it works. I’m a mosquito magnet, too, and nothing bites me when I drink the vinegar-water. (When I discovered the note in Dodwell’s book, it reminded me that I had once read that Francis Marion, the famous “Swamp Fox” of the American Revolution, kept his troops healthy by mixing vinegar in the drinking water, and I had always thought it must be some antiseptic aspect of vinegar, but realized must have just been that they didn’t get any swamp fevers, as nothing was biting.)

    Dodwell says eating “quantities” of cream of tartar also works. I haven’t tried it yet, but it might be easier to travel with than a bottle of vinegar. She adds that garlic helps repel flies, and fresh mint or walnut leaves will repel fleas and lice. For other bugs, she just offers remedies, not preventives.

    Hope one or the other of these works for you.

    Comment by waltzingaustralia | March 25, 2007 | Reply

  2. Try eating garlic, but I guess that will keep your husband away too lol 🙂

    Comment by Elijah | March 25, 2007 | Reply

  3. Walzing – Welcome! And thank you for the recommendation. I actually like vinegar, especially the balsamic ones, and your reference tickled a brain cell that said “I think there are a LOT of good uses for vinegar, so you get credit for one of today’s entries. Many thanks, and again, welcome.:-)

    Comment by intlxpatr | March 26, 2007 | Reply

  4. Elijah *dying laughing* I just make him eat it, too. I tell him it keeps the vampires away. He says “it keeps everyone away!”

    Comment by intlxpatr | March 26, 2007 | Reply

  5. I take a B-complex vitamin every day once “bug season” arrives. It keeps bugs away, but takes about two weeks to become effective.

    For infants who are bug-prone, there is a vitamin B topical creme that can be presscribed by a physician.

    Easy solution and healthy, too!

    Good luck!

    Comment by DKS4564 | March 27, 2007 | Reply

  6. DKS – Welcome to Here There and Everywhere! I like the B-complex vitamin idea – I’ll have to give it a try. Can you get B-complex vitamins from foods?

    Comment by intlxpatr | March 27, 2007 | Reply


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