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INSECTS - Personal Protection

What's "Bugging" You?  Insect protection - keeping midges (sandflies), mosquitoes and flies away.


How Do I Prevent Insect Bites?

Sandflies or midges as they are also known, mainly bite at dawn and dusk.  They attack exposed skin and can cause serious discomfort like red lumps and itching. 

Mosquitoes are often located in wet and dark areas.  Biting activity will peak around dusk.

Flies – there are biting and non-biting flies.  The common house fly and blow fly are often associated as a non-biting fly and have the potential to spoil food stuffs.  The bush fly is often located around manure in pastures and makes a nuisance of itself by trying to feed in the corner of your eyes, mouth and on flesh sores.  The biting flies such as March flies and horse (or stable) flies are prevalent in the warmer months.  Biting flies can cause itching, pain and some allergic responses.


Clothing - Cover as much of your body with clothing to avoid midges, mosquitoes or biting flies having contact with your skin.  If that is not practical say due to heat then the next best thing is to use a personal insect repellent.

There is now a range of lightweight, quick drying fabrics for use in summer.  Gondwana has a summer collection of shirts they claim are a “smart fabric” that wicks moisture away from your skin, is lightweight, quick drying and UV resistant.  Outdoor clothing is also available from Mountain Design and Paddy Pallin.

The Sun Protection Australia Shop also stocks long sleeve GoSo lightweight, UV sun protection clothing for men and women.  The men's long sleeve polo shirt has fine mesh under arm gussets and adjustable sleeve tabs that allow the option of elbow or sleeve length.

Hats – a good broad rimmed hat will not only provide protection from the sun but with a fly net that fits over the hat it will provide protection for the face and neck against flies.

Personal Insect Repellents – these are a topical application to the skin.   



Why Should I Use an Insect Repellent?

Insect repellents provide personal comfort from bites.  When properly used insect repellents will assist reduce infection from diseases such as Dengue fever, Ross River Fever and malaria to name a few.  Repellents provide a barrier between the blood sucking insect and the skin.

The insect repellent can be in the form of a lotion, aerosol spray or gel and come in the form of a plastic tube or aluminium can.

As a precaution, sample test an area of skin to see if you might get any adverse reaction prior to applying any repellent over all exposed skin.  Frequent, heavy, long-term use of any chemical repellent should be avoided. 

Care should be taken if choosing to use personal repellent on children.  Some information available indicates there should be less than 7.5% DEET in the product if used on toddlers.  Always refer to the product label before application.

Most chemical repellents contain DEET (Diethltolumaide) which has been subjected to more scrutiny than any other repellent.  

Aerogard - personal repellent

Brands of insect repellent – two common brands are Mortein Aerogard and Bushman Repellent.  The protection time provided by the repellent depends on a few factors such as humidity and sweating but mostly on the level of DEET in the product.  The higher the level then the longer protection time.

For example, ‘Bushman Plus’ repellent claims to have 80% DEET and to last up to 15 hours of protection against mosquitoes, midges, leeches, March flies, bed bugs, lice and other insects.  They also have a repellent that includes a sunscreen.  The ‘Bushman Aerosol’ label states it has 20% DEET with sunscreen.  Their website also provides Material Safety Data Sheets for those who require further information.

Mortein claim their ‘Aerogard Tropical Strength’ will provide up to 6 hours protection against flies, mosquitoes, sandflies, leeches and ticks.  ‘Aerogard Low Scent’ is claimed to provide up to 2 hour protection and they also have a 2 in 1 sunscreen.

Avon – Skin-So-Soft Bath Oil – although there have been some claims this provides repellent properties The New England Journal of Medicine (Vol. 347: 13-18 4/7/02) reported that when tested it provided 9.6 minutes of protection.

Lavender Oil – this oil can provide some relief to itching .  Carry some pure essential Lavender oil as part of your first aid kit.  For mosquito bites place a dab of the oil on the bite site and you should experience relief from the itching sensation in a few minutes. 



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