The Scourge of the East: How to Avoid Mosquitoes in Thailand
Every silver lining wraps round a cloud, doesn’t it? And the cloud inside Thailand’s beautiful tropical silver lining is the millions of mosquitoes that can bite the heart out of your holiday! No one wants to become the next big feasting station for these airborne pests. That’s why we’ve thrown together a few tips to help you avoid mosquito bites in Thailand. Knowledge is power!
Why should you care about mosquito bites?
A mosquito bite can be an itchy distraction from your holiday, and that’s not pleasant. But do the problems end there? Not at all! When backpacking Thailand, especially the southern islands like Koh Samui and Koh Phangan – you’ll want to do your best to avoid mosquito bites.
Mosquitoes also carry a terrifying array of diseases just waiting to be transferred to you in their saliva as they bite. Have you heard of Dengue Fever, Japanese Encephalitis or Malaria? Yep? Well you probably already know that you don’t want them, but did you know that mosquitoes are major carriers?
With that in mind, here’s how to outsmart them and escape bite-free.
1. Wear insect repellent.
This sounds like travel health 101, but you’d be amazed how many people don’t pack repellent when they head out on a trip. Don’t be lulled into thinking you can always hear mosquitoes if they’re around; you can’t, and you should always use repellent on exposed skin at dawn and dusk. We’ve heard some rave reviews about the ‘Incognito’ brand but anything with a good proportion DEET should do the trick.
2. Cover up bare skin.
What’s better than stopping a mosquito biting your bare skin? Not letting it get to your bare skin in the first place, of course! Wear long-sleeved tops and long pants in the morning and evening, and always wear long pants when trekking through wild undergrowth (yes, even if it’s 40 degrees and 100% humidity. You’ll thank us afterwards!). Long skirts can make you feel like you have protection against mosquitoes but these guys are persistent and can squirrel their way in if you don’t have full leg coverage.
3. Keep your room mosquito-free.
The mozzies love the light, so a well-lit room at night is like a beacon to them. Keep doors and windows closed after dusk and if there’s a mosquito net provided over the bed then use it. It’s better to have to crawl out under the net for that night time bathroom break than it is getting hospitalized for malaria!
4. Blind them with science!
No environment is ever going to be guaranteed mosquito-free, so bolster your defenses with a citronella coil or two or a plug-in deterrent. 7-11’s carry a good range at a low price and they’re a smart choice for the al fresco diners amongst us- rather than be trapped in the air con inside, surround yourself with a cloud of mosquito-unfriendly air.
When the inevitable happens…
Even with all these great bite-avoidance tactics, it’s likely that you may pick up at least a nibble or two on your travels. If this happens then don’t panic, the likelihood that you’ve picked up anything nasty is quite remote. Always check the malaria situation in your area and take the recommended anti-malarial drugs, and if you develop flu-like symptoms up to a year after exposure then seek medical advice.
Apart from that it’s just a matter of trying not to scratch, using a soothing ointment to reduce the itching and redoubling your efforts to not get bitten again. It’s a battle of wits and you want to come out on top. Good luck!