My War on Mosquitos Begins

18 May

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I am waging a war on mosquitos. Normally I am not bothered by them. They are a mild annoyance causing temporary itching. Soon I will be on my way to Africa on the most adventurous trip I have ever made. Safari! I will be in Botswana for ten days stalking the Big Five. The creature that terrifies me the most, however, is the lowly mosquito. Botswana is a malaria zone, and malaria is carried by the female mosquito in this region. Malaria is a souvenir I do not wish to bring home with me. Yesterday I began my war against mosquitos and malaria at my local REI outfitters. I learned about Permethrin, an insecticide to spray on your clothing and gear, and DEET, a super insecticide to spray on your skin. Here on the left is Permethrin, brand name Ultrathon, and 100% DEET in the Jungle Juice spray. Other necessities…sunscreen and lip balm. Wikipedia defines these insecticides as follows:

Permethrin is a common synthetic chemical, widely used as an insecticideacaricide, and insect repellent. It belongs to the family of synthetic chemicals called pyrethroids and functions as a neurotoxin, affecting neuron membranes by prolonging sodium channel activation. It is not known to rapidly harm most mammals or birds, but is dangerously toxic to cats[1][2] and fish. In general, it has a low mammalian toxicity and is poorly absorbed by skin.[3]

N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide, abbreviated DEET, is a slightly yellow oil. It is the most common active ingredient ininsect repellents. It is intended to be applied to the skin or to clothing, and provides protection against mosquito bites,tick bites, flea bites, chiggers, and many other biting insects. DEET serves as a true repellent in that mosquitoes intensely dislike the smell of the chemical repellent.

At REI I also purchased a safari shirt, a jersey, and two pairs of safari pants. This season’s colors are neutral. I also bought a Permethrin treated bandana for neck protection and for my face to breathe through when driving over dusty terrain.

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This girl is ready to rumble.

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9 Responses to “My War on Mosquitos Begins”

  1. NW Frame of Mind May 19, 2014 at 12:48 am #

    A great hat!

    • Rosemarie May 19, 2014 at 1:44 am #

      Thanks. That’s the one I took to the Dolomites but hardly ever wore. I think I’m going to need it for the African sun.

  2. Heyjude May 19, 2014 at 5:39 pm #

    You are so much more prepared than I ever was! Khaki shorts and plain vests, walking boots and of course long trousers and a sweater for the evening! But then I went in the summer. A pashmina or light shawl / sarong is useful too as a cover up. A pashmina would be a better choice for the cold mornings if you have early drives. And luckily there are less mosquitoes in the dry season!

  3. Mama Cormier May 19, 2014 at 11:24 pm #

    Do you have get inoculated before you go? I know in the past that was a must do before going to Africa. Maybe your bandanna could have some colour to offset the kaki colours.

    • Rosemarie May 20, 2014 at 2:57 am #

      I’m going to the travel doctor at the end of the month. I have read the CDC guidelines for the countries in Africa that I will visit. There are no required vaccinations, some recommended. However, the malaria meds are a must. Sorry, the bandana is also khaki. Bright colors are not recommended because some animals don’t like them.

  4. Naomi Baltuck May 23, 2014 at 4:07 am #

    I SO get this! We were in the Amazon last summer, and I was very careful about mosquitoes. Best of luck! You must have been a Girl Scout, because you are well prepared!

    • Rosemarie May 23, 2014 at 4:18 am #

      I’m terrified of the malaria meds because I react to everything, but I am more terrified of malaria.

      • Naomi Baltuck May 23, 2014 at 2:42 pm #

        I don’t blame you. Where we were it was so hot and humid. Showers would cool us down, but then immediately we would be hot and sweaty and all of our mosquito repellant would have to be re-applied. But it was the trip of a lifetime, and I’m sure yours will be too. Can’t wait to see photos of Africa.

  5. MJF Images May 30, 2014 at 6:46 am #

    I’m excited for you! And I want to go back too! Try not to worry about malaria. I wouldn’t even take pills if I were you. Just put the bug dope on when evening comes on while you’re in the Okavango or any other place near bodies of fresh water.

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