Not just the rain and sun are more intense in tropical regions, also mosquitos will be way more intense. While they are usually just annoying in moderate climate zones, they can transmit dangerous diseases in tropical regions. There is no 100% reliable protection against mosquitos, but you can mininize mosquito bites. The most common ways, with their advantages and disadvantages:
- Mosquito repellent: Probably the most common way to protect yourself against mosquitos. Unfortunately, it’s somehow varying how usefull it is. Some people need higher concentrations of the main ingredient DEET to realize an effect. Very persistent mosquitos will bite you despite the use of mosquito repellent. The main drawback is that DEET is not very healthy. Most people don’t realize that DEET is toxic to mosquitos, but also to humans. We absorbe it through the skin, so it should rather be used if there really is no other option. It also tends to damage plastic, so make sure to wash your hands after using it.
- Mosquito coils: Those are very popular in third world countries. If you sit down in a restaurant the waiter will sometimes light a coil for you. I never liked them since the only use I felt was enormous chemical stink, I got bitten anyway. Especially in third world countries the ingredients of those coils are very questionable. I tried to avoid them, some other travellers found them super usefull though.
- Long Clothing: It would actually be the best protection to just wear long clothes, if mosquitos would be active in winter. Usually it will be a little too hot to wear long clothes, you will see a lot of street workers beeing fully covered though. Long clothes are also the best protection against the sun, you just need to get used to it. The clothes need to be thick enough though, otherwise the persistent mosquitos will find their way anyway.
- Mosquito net: If you properly set up a mosquito net you are guaranteed to have a quiet night. That’s also the biggest problem with them – they are often difficult to set up and of course they will only protect you inside rooms. They are quite voluminous and tend to get holes over time, if you don’t fix them the mosquitos will find their way in.
- Airflow: Since I tried to avoid the chemical methodes and didn’t travel with a mosquito net either, I found my own way. You will always either have a fan or air conditioner in tropical countries. Direct the air to directly hit you while you are sleeping. Now a lot of people probably might think that they will get sick because of that. Yes and No. If you adjust the temperature properly you won’t. The maximum difference between outside and inside temperature should be 6°C. Over time you can decrease that so it won’t feel so hot when you head outside anymore. The ultimate goal is to sleep with just a fan. Not mainly because it’s cheaper, but also because this is the only way to truly get used to the heat. Otherwise the difference will always be somehow unenjoyable. This doesn’t always work though. Sometimes the air conditioner has a weak airflow and some people move a lot during their sleep, so the air flow won’t hit them anymore.
Besides the above mentioned ways you can also adjust your behaviour a bit. Mosquitos are most active during dusk. They get attracted by sweat, so it’s worth to take a short shower before you head out again. Besides beeing less attractive to mosquitos it will be very enjoyable after a long day in the sun anyway.
As always you are very welcome to leave additions/suggestions/opinions in the comments!
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