Health How to protect yourself from mosquitoes? Here are...

How to protect yourself from mosquitoes? Here are the methods to follow and those to avoid

Sprays are the most effective for fighting mosquito bites.
Sprays are the most effective for fighting mosquito bites. (©Pixabay)

The war to the mosquitoes is declared! But contrary to the saying, not all means are good for fighting them.

So before opting for dubious methods, has made the point for you on the advice to follow and not to follow.

The techniques to follow:

There are multiple techniques and tools for combat mosquitoes. If they have proven themselves, some precautions still prevail.

Also read: Society. The spider, a natural insecticide

1st step: eliminate standing water

This is the first step in controlling the mosquito. This is not about fighting the adult aggressor, but the larvae who are not yet born.

There are many sites that can host their offspring. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. For Anna-Bella Failloux, head of the arbovirus and insect vector unitPastor Institute, it is therefore necessary to treat the surrounding stagnant water.

The mosquito is dependent on water and flies at a maximum of 800 meters around the house.

To combat them, it is therefore enough to “eliminate water collections”, explains Gérard Duvallet, medical entomologist and professor emeritus at the University of Montpellier, namely any container that could contain water: pot saucer flower, umbrella stake, wheelbarrow, seals, etc.

The mosquito net, your ally of the night

If that is not enough, the insecticide-treated mosquito net is one of the most effective responses. Today it is the main tool in the fight against mosquito bites in countries where the malaria actively circulates.

It is therefore recommended to install it around the bed and in the windows and be careful not to leave any gaping openings. But its action remains limited at home. And passing the threshold of the door, we are vulnerable again, especially during the day. ” The tiger mosquito bites during the day, usually at dawn or at the end of the day, ”says Anna-Bella Failloux.

Also read: Over 40% of the population exposed to the tiger mosquito in the majority of the Occitanie region

The mosquito catch, your other ally of the night

Electric diffusers are effective, especially at night. They release chemicals continuously, so be sure to unplug them when you wake up.

The spray, effective but in moderation

There are different mosquito repellant. Their effectiveness is generally recognized by professionals, but not all are created equal.

UFC-what to choose lists the molecules most effective against mosquitoes: “The most effective products are based on DEET at concentrations of 25 and 30%. […] Icaridin is of good efficacy. The effectiveness of IR3535 depends on the composition of the product. […] That of citriodiol, which can also be found under the name of PMD or essential oil of lemon eucalyptus (or citriodora), is eminently variable, depending on the formulation. “

“With children, they should be used with caution. It’s up to parents to put the repellant on the hand and pass it over the face and arms, ”insists Gérard Duvallet.

Also read: Bordeaux: alert to tiger mosquitoes! Some tips for hunting them (without insecticide)

In all cases, insecticide products should be used sparingly, insists Anna-Bella Failloux, researcher at the Institut Pasteur:

The overuse of insecticides induces resistance in mosquitoes, in the same way that we become resistant to antibiotics.

So be careful.

Insecticide clothing: as a last resort

Regular in tropical countries, Gérard Duvallet recommends wearing long and loose clothing to avoid bites.

For areas where there is a risk of infectious disease [portées par les moustiques, ndlr], there are also clothes impregnated with insecticides.

The fabric fiber is impregnated with permethrin, whose action is as repulsive as‘insecticide. “It protects the whole body because the garment moves constantly and creates a protective wall around the person,” says the medical entomologist.

Also read: Near Toulouse, this castle protects its visitors from bites thanks to a mosquito repellent belt

This method is also recommended by the CMETE international health center, which specifies, however, that permethrin “should not be used on the skin”. Note also that its effectiveness may decrease after washing. It is the same molecule that is found on some mosquito nets.

Anna-Bella Failloux tempers all the same and insists not to make her own homemade insecticide clothing “at the risk of getting intoxicated”.

Lemongrass products, a good repellant

The effects repellents from lemongrass are known against mosquitoes. However, not all derivative products display the same efficacy or present the same dangers.

The lemongrass candle has a certain repelling effect. But its field of action is very limited. In other words, unless you meet very close to it, you will not be protected very long against these pests.

Also read: Aude. This Lauragais botanist gives advice on how to protect yourself from the tiger mosquito

The lemongrass twist is also very effective. It is however to be used with caution and only outdoors. “They are never to be used in a room: smoke products can be very dangerous,” warns Gérard Duvallet.

The UV lamp: limited efficiency

We generally find the UV lamps in restaurants or homes in the south of France. They are the ones that sizzle and produce small sparks when an insect collides with its electric wires, attracted by the light of the lamp.

But contrary to the goal assigned to it, “the UV lamp works more for flies than for mosquitoes,” points out the professor from Montpellier.

Mosquitoes are more active at night and are not attracted to light. On the other hand, the entomologist validates the “mosquito vacuums” which attract their prey using CO2 released into the air, before sucking them up.

Also read: Sunscreen: avoid homemade products

Techniques to forget:

They are popular, and yet their use is obsolete, even dangerous: beware of mosquito repellent bracelets, applications and other remedies for grandmothers.

The bracelet, useless and dangerous

“Useless!” “, Gérard Duvallet says. Despite their recreational aspect, mosquito repellent bracelets are not convincing.

Worse, they are even responsible for skin burns. The National Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health Safety (ANSES) recommended in a April 2020 report to “ban the wearing of bracelets in infants and young children”.

The agency has noted since 2012 several cases of burns in these young children following a prolonged exposure of the chemicals present in the bracelet on the skin.

Also read: Return of the tiger mosquito: ANSES asks you to report its presence

Smartphone applications, a “scam”

“It is an absolute scam,” still condemns Gérard Duvallet. These applications work by variations in sound frequencies supposed to annoy mosquitoes.

“Try to download one and put your smartphone in a cage with mosquitoes, it does not bother them at all,” says the entomologist.

Also read: Toulouse. Areas affected, reports… Seven things to know about the tiger mosquito

Vitamin B1, essential oils, homeopathy: to forget

Many natural products such as vitamin B1, essential oils or homeopathy are known to change the smell of the skin to repel mosquitoes. But here again, Gérard Duvallet ensures that all “these solutions to swallow do not work”.

Also read: Drooling snails, honey, thyme …: the amazing remedies of grandmother Reine


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