Mosquitos are probably the single most annoying thing on the beautiful island of St. John. They are somehow meaner and leaner than back home, they approach you without you seeing or hearing them and the bites can be really itchy.
They are not only annoying, they can also be dangerous. The Vitema has actually just issued an Health/Medical Alert based on a recent increase in the number of over 380 confirmed and suspected cases of chikungunya, a mosquito-borne disease in the St. Thomas-St. John district, so try to always use Mosquito Repellent!
According to the Health Department, the symptoms of chikungunya are similar to dengue. The symptoms for chikungunya usually begin three-to-seven days after being bitten by an infected mosquito and may include fever, severe joint pains, often in the hands and feet, headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or rash. The symptoms can be severe and disabling. Most patients report improvement within a week.
More on the recent outbreak is here: CHIKUNGUNYA BECOMES A BIG PROBLEM IN ST. THOMAS
So, what can you do to protect yourself from Mosquito bites? What is the best Mosquito Repellent?
Repelling mosquitos when out and about.
- Use insect repellents – Repellents containing DEET or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
- You don’t like DEET? Buy a bottle of Skin so soft at the bookstore across from Starfish at the Marketplace
- Buy mosquito repellent bracelets at Pine Peace (1.50$) and wear them around your wrists and ankles
- When weather permits, wear clothing that protects you from mosquito bites especially after sunset (long-sleeved shirts and long pants).
- Treat clothing with permethrin or purchase permethrin-treated clothing.
- Protect infants with light, long sleeve clothing
- Don’t wear black! It attracts mosquitos
- Build a mosquito trap!
- Eat Garlic, mosquitos can’t stand it. Peel a clove of garlic and chop it into tiny pieces, swallow with water (without chewing, then your breath will not smell). Garlic is also a great to boost your immune system and fight off infections.
- You can also make your own mosquito repellent from catnip, check this website for instructions
Repelling mosquitos at home:
- Mosquito proof your home by eliminating water sources that breed mosquito. If you have water sources like ponds that cannot be eliminated, consider growing lotus, new research in the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Medicine shows that lotus is an effective mosquito repellent and also helps to kill their larvae
- Grow catnip plants in your garden or on your terrace. Research shows it is 10 times more effective than DEET in repelling mosquitos
- Use yard fogger and citronella candles (you can by at hardware store at marketplace, St. John)
- Use air conditioning or window / door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
- Sleep under a mosquito bed net.
- Protect infants: cover cribs, strollers and baby carriers with cotton mosquito netting at all times
- Build a mosquito trap! (see instructions below)
More natural mosquito repellents:
- Citronella, Lavender, Neem oil/Neem seed oil, Organic Soy Oil, Black Pepper
Source: Care2 Green Living
How to build a mosquito trap
You need dry yeast, brown sugar, duct tape and a plastic bottle. Just follow these instructions:
How to stop mosquito bites from itching
- Alcohol Wipes or just rum some good old rum on it
- itching soothing solutions (like after bite)
- A strong alkaline solution will often ease the itching. Mix baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) and warm water
- Soak a cotton ball in apple cider vinegar. Place the soaked cotton ball over the mosquito bites.
- Dab some toothpaste or deodorant over the bite area
- Citric acid has some itch-relieving properties, try putting some lemon juice on it
- And our favourite: Use heat. The poison injected is a protein, which breaks down in temperatures over 100°F. Use a hot lighter (let it burn for a few seconds) or teaspoon and press it on the bite. Be careful not to burn youself!