Mosquito nets

The Australian Mosquito

If you’ve spent any time is Australia, you’ll know the sounds of bzzzzzzzzz….slap….silence….(repeat…).

In preparing this blog about the need to protect yourself from the mosquito (or the good ol’ Ozzie Mozzie) when Out&About camping and travelling – or just on short trips – I had a thought to equate the need to protect yourself to that of a Workplace Health and Safety (OH&S) issue. Then, I thought how strange it was that, in the hierarchy of hazard reduction, we focus on what is considered the ‘wrong’ end of the spectrum.

Avoiding the Mosquito

While there is a wealth of information out there on hazard controls and reduction, Wikipedia (refer: hierarchy of hazard controls) provides a simple explanation in the order of decreasing effectiveness as follows:

    1. Eliminate the hazard
    2. Substitute out the thing that creates the hazard
    3. Implement engineering controls that remove the people from the hazard
    4. Administrative controls to regulate how people do things
    5. The use of personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect us
The Australian Mosquito
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Long List of Diseases Spread by Mosquitoes

But, I must first point out that the diseases carried and spread by mosquitoes are very real – including Ross River Fever, Bramah Forest Fever (which I have had), Murray Valley encephalitis virus and dengue virus (refer: Victorian Government’s Better Health website).

Measures to Protect Yourself Against the Mosquito

So, first, we could stay home and not go Out&About. This is doable and assumes that we have no mozzies at home. But, I’m guessing that we’ll pass on this one at this stage.

Second, as the mosquito has its place in the world, there’s not much we can do in this regard. Although, there are efforts around the world to regulate the mosquito’s breeding cycle and many councils have implemented programs around this.

Mosquito Nets, Coils, Candles and Herbs

Engineering controls such as mosquito nets when camping and insect screens do work as a third level of control, but we all need to go beyond these confines as some stage. I guess too that this level of hazard reduction could be considered to include the burning of mosquito coils or citronella candles around your campsite. If you bump into an overseas tourist on your travels – you may need to explain these coils to them.

I have heard too that wrapping wet herbs, such as rosemary and sage, in aluminium foil, with some holes poked in it and placed in the fire helps keep the mozzies away – perhaps downwind anyway…

Avoid Dawn, Dusk and Sunset to Protect Against The Australian Mosquito

Then there’s administrative controls where you may avoid the dark and swampy areas etc or even avoid what can be considered as mosquitoes’ most active times of day – around dawn, dusk and sunset.

Cover Up Against The Australian Mosquito

Finally it’s the reliance on PPE, and this is often the area that OH&S people don’t like to rely on in the formal setting because of possible failure and the exhaustion of all other measures. This includes the wearing of long sleeve shirts and trousers as well as perhaps netting over your head / hat. It’s also the application of insect repellents in spray or cream form. You could also look at bracelets that are sold in camping stores that can provide a personal protective ‘bubble’ around you.

Some Mosquito Repellents to Consider

Many of today’s campers are tending to move towards the Bushman products of insect repellents, claiming that the good ol’ mozzie is getting used to the other products that have been in use for many years.

Another product that comes to mind is the Outdoor Body Spray Natural Insect Repellent produced by Perfect Potion. This product is made from all natural products and is free from DEET (Diethyl-meta-toluamide – because I knew you’d ask) and may be the preferred product when thinking of your kids’ protection.

I’ll let you do your own research on which approach and products suit you and your family the best.

If you are affected by mosquito bites and find that they become infected through scratching etc, have a word to your chemist about various products that are available – including Stingose. Similarly, if you experience unusual symptoms (including tiredness) after being bitten by mosquitoes (or even one) it may pay to mention this to your doctor.

To finish on a happy note, I can tell ya that you can still drink a good rum and coke through a head net.

See you, and the mozzies, Out&About.

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