I love hiking! – Be in the wilderness, camp out by the beach, and summit the mountain tops. However, I almost always come home with some unwanted souvenirs – numerous, itchy mosquito bites on my legs. Sometimes they get so itchy that only solution is to scratch until they bleed. Then, having to deal with the scars left behind, just not fun. I’m sure some of you are in the same shoe as me. I start to wonder, what is causing this and what can I do about it.
What is in our blood that’s attracting those mosquitos?
Researchers have indicated how we smell to mosquitos is the main reason they come after us. As our body emits metabolic byproducts in our exhalation, sweats, and skin, particularly lactic acid, ammonia, and carboxylic acid (CO2), make us more visible and detectable in mosquitos’ radars. Needless to say, the more we emit, the more mosquitos we attract.
What can we do to become less visible to mosquitos then?
- Stay hydrated. – Reduce concentration of byproduct excreted.
- Keep skin cool and dry. – mosquitos like moist and heat.
- Carry natural bug repellents. – create barrier against mosquitos.
Some effective natural essential oils I found – Thyme, lavender, peppermint, eucalyptus oils. Just a few drops in your spray will do. Lots of research have been shown for their ability to repel insects.
Treatments – reduce that itchy!
- Homeopathic – Apis. Used for insect bites is there is considerable SWELLING, HEAT, TENSION and REDNESS. bites are better with cold applications. Also famous for bee stings. Dosage: Apis 30C, every 15min until swelling is reduced.
- Herbal topical cream/salves that contain any of these, calendula, chamomile, manuka honey, aloe vera would help reduce local inflammation. If handy, black tea bag and a slice of cucumber will do as well.
What about the commercial ones?
Commercial bug repellents – Simple solution but wears off easily with sweat. Also, sometimes, the distinct scent via inhalation can aggregate and develop into a headache. Aside from the infamous repellent DEET, which was banned http://www.environmentalhealth.ca/spring03hazards.html due to toxins in the formula, consumers have found many other chemical based bug repellents aren’t very effective, not to drop specific brand names here. What can you do? Taking extra Vitamin B1 (Vit B1)?
The Vitamin B1 deficient Myth –
If your blood is favoured by mosquitos, then you are deficient in Vit B1.
NOT TRUE ! Studies have found our body fluid (sweat and urine) produce a distinct fragrance if you have excess amount of Vit B1, which can be scened as unfavored fragrance by female mosquitos (males rarely bite), but it is not always the case.
Take home message:
Hike with preparation. Avoid being the target of mosquito bites by staying hydrated, using natural bug repellents and keeping body cool. Apply topical herbal salves in saving the intense itch. Homeopathic remedy Apis can also be helpful in reduce tissue swelling. Lastly, have fun and enjoy the outdoors. 🙂