Posts Tagged ‘Mosquito’

Permethrin – a secret weapon against mosquitoes

Permethrin is a special insecticide that enables clothing to kill or repel mosquitoes

Wearing treated items will significantly decrease the number of bites you get. Treated bed nets have been shown to be four times more effective than untreated nets. When you wear treated clothes, you still need to use repellent on exposed skin. You can buy items pre-treated (especially bed nets) or treat items yourself with commercially produced permethrin packs. Follow the treatment instructions carefully to ensure the best effect. Do not throw any unused solution down the sink. It is toxic to fish. Follow the disposal instructions on the pack.

Treated articles which are immediately stored in a sealed plastic bag, will retain effectiveness for 12 months until usage is begun. A permethrin impregnated mosquito net is effective for 3-6 months of regular use. The solution wears off as well as washes off. Treated clothes are said to be active until the fourth normal wash. Do not iron treated clothes.

Is permethrin safe?
Yes. Permethrin is related to the naturally occurring pyrethrum from the flowers of a type of Chrysanthemum. Once the fabric is treated and dried, permethrin has no vapour action and nets can be used safely, even around sleeping children. Should a young child suck the net, they will not suffer any ill effects. Treated items are not more flammable. There are rare reports of persons developing a minor skin rash after wearing treated clothes.

Did you know …

The Defence forces wear permethrin treated uniforms to help keep mosquito diseases at bay. Now travellers can do the same – treat their clothes at home before they head off overseas. This will deter mosquitoes from biting through the clothes. The clothes will remain effective for up to four washes. Self Treatment Permethrin Soak packs are available from your nearest TMA.

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Mosquito Avoidance

Dr Deb Mills

Moisture, warmth, carbon dioxide and odour all attract ‘mozzies’, and some unlucky people seem to be genetically more delicious to mosquitoes.

Cover up – long sleeved, light coloured clothes
Try and avoid being outside when they are biting. If you are outside between dusk and dawn, wear treated, long sleeved shirts, long pants, and long socks. Light coloured clothes are best. Dark colours attract mosquitoes. Strong scents also attract them, so avoid perfumes etc.

30% DEET is the best
‘DEET’ (Diethyl toluamide) is clinically proven to be the most effective mosquito repellent to apply on your skin e.g. Repel™ or Rid™. Repellents work by blocking the receptors on the mosquitoes antennae. A concentration of 30% DEET is recommended for adults under conditions of intense mosquito exposure. Concentrations greater than 50% DEET are usually not recommended. In field trials, DEET products on the skin have been found to be more effective than coils, ‘mozzie plants’, citronella candles, sonic repellers, and UV light lures. DEET can damage plastics, synthetic fabrics, leather and painted or varnished materials so be careful with eye glasses, cameras etc. DEET has no effect on cotton, wool or nylon or skin(!) DEET has been on the market for 45 years and side effects are rare if used properly.

Apply regularly
Apply regularly as per instructions on the bottle (for 30% DEET usually every 4-5 hours). Don’t forget your neck and ankles. Use just enough repellent to lightly cover your skin. You do not need to saturate your skin. Never use repellent over cuts, wounds or inflamed skin. After application, wipe or wash the repellent off your palms to avoid inadvertent contact with your eyes, mouth and other sensitive areas. Don’t apply repellent to children’s hands if they are likely to put their hands in their mouth. Ideally, wash off the repellent when you no longer need it.

Sleeping precautions
Sleeping in air-conditioned or well-screened rooms is the ideal. Use a ‘knock down spray’ if necessary to remove stray mosquitoes. The next best plan is to sleep under a permethrin-treated mosquito net. Check there are no holes in the net, and tuck the edges under the mattress. If mosquitoes are already inside the net, spray them with insecticide before you go to bed. As a last resort burn mosquito coils, cover exposed skin in insect repellent, and sleep next to a fan.

Did you know … mixing sunscreen and repellent?

When sunscreen is required, apply sunscreen first, wait 20 minutes and then apply repellent. Combination products are not as effective.

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Safety of DEET (N,N,-diethyl-m-toluamide)

Insect repellents containing DEET are the most effective and the most commonly used world wide. DEET has been available commercially for over 50 years and has been studied extensively.

It is thought that DEET works by interfering with the mosquito antennae function, effectively making humans invisible to the mosquito. Generally, the duration of protection is related to the concentration of DEET. However, at a concentration of 50%, this effect plateaus. 30% DEET is the lowest effective dose.

DEET repellents have a very good safety record, when used as directed. When DEET is applied to the skin, some is absorbed into the circulation. However, if the same amount of DEET were to be taken by mouth, either accidentally, or non-accidentally, blood concentrations will be hundreds of times higher and seizures and death can result. Toxic effects have most often occurred as a result of ingestion, rather than skin application. Repellents should not be applied to the lips, mouth, sunburned skin, damaged skin, or deep skin folds, and hands should be washed after applying DEET.

The risk of disease due to the bite of an insect is far greater than the risk involved in applying DEET insect repellents to the skin. 30% DEET repellents are safe to use and are recommended for adults, pregnant women, breast-feeding women and children over 2 months of age.

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Travel Health Information

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