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Natural Insect Repellent to Protect Against Japanese Encephalitis

How to protect yourself from mosquito-borne diseases

, by AussiePharmaDirect, 6 min reading time

Mosquitoes are more than just a nuisance - they can also transmit serious diseases to humans. Know what they are and steps to protect yourself from these pesky insect!

Australia has experienced an increase in mosquito-borne diseases in recent years, especially in northern parts of the country. This increase is due to several factors, including changes in climate, the growth of urban areas, and changes in land use practices.

The country has a predominantly hot and dry climate, with temperatures often reaching over 40°C in the summer months. This climate is ideal for the breeding of mosquitoes, as they require warm, stagnant water to lay their eggs. The northern parts of the country, including Queensland and the Northern Territory, have a tropical climate, which is even more conducive for mosquitoes to breed.

 

When is the mosquito season in Australia?

It really depends on the area you live in or going to. Mosquito season in Australia varies depending on the location, weather conditions, and time of the year. Generally, mosquito season in Australia is during the warmer months, from October to April, but this can differ by region.

In northern Australia, mosquito season can begin as early as September and last until May or June, coinciding with the wet season. This can cause stagnant water such as puddles, flooded areas, and swamps, making it the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. 

In the southern territory of Australia, on the other hand, mosquito season usually starts in late November and lasts until late April. The peak mosquito activity is typical during the summer months when temperatures are high, and there is plenty of rainfall. While mosquito-borne diseases are less common in southern Australia, there is still a risk, particularly in coastal areas and wetlands.

If you live in western Australia, mosquito season can vary depending on the region. In the north-western regions, mosquito activity is highest from October to May, while in the south-western regions, it can occur from November to April.

 

When are they most active?

Generally, mosquitoes come out to feed during dusk and dawn hours. You won’t see them around much during the hottest hours of the day as they tend to avoid prolonged exposure to sunlight. Considering that they’re blood-sucking predators, it’s no surprise that they’re the exact likeness of fictional vampires - albeit tiny and annoying. 

The ideal temperature range for mosquitoes to become active is between 18°C to 34°C. But this doesn’t mean that you’re completely free from them during the day. Do you remember the time when you were out hiking in the jungles, especially the tropical ones, and you would come out with red bumps all over your skin? So long as there is dense vegetation, with plenty of shade and standing water (which is common in these kinds of jungles), you’re more likely to be bitten by mozzies.

 

What diseases do mosquitoes carry in Australia?

Diseases from mosquitoes can vary, depending on the species of the mosquito. They carry certain types of viruses that can be transmitted to humans through their bites and cause us many health issues. These are the common diseases these pesky buggers can spread to us mere mortals:

 

  • Ross River virus: This virus is transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitoes and can cause fever, rash, and joint pain. 
  • Barmah Forest virus: Similar to the Ross River virus, the Barmah Forest virus can also cause joint pain, fever and rash. 
  • Murray Valley encephalitis virus: This virus can cause a severe form of encephalitis, which is inflammation of the brain. It is primarily found in the tropical regions of Western Australia, the Northern Territory, and New South Wales.
  • Kunjin virus: Most people who contracted the Kunjin virus do not have symptoms but those who have will experience symptoms such as fever, enlarged lymph nodes, rash, swollen and aching joints, headache, muscle weakness, and fatigue.
  • Japanese encephalitis: Similar to the Kunjin virus, most people do not have any symptoms for it. For some, Japanese Encephalitis symptoms include fever, headache, and vomiting. In a more severe case (which is about 1 in 250 people), it can cause neck stiffness, disorientation, tremors, coma, seizures, and paralysis.

 

How is it spread?

Usually the mosquitoes will already be infected by other infected animals. Hence, humans can only catch mosquito viruses via an infected mosquito bite. Diseases from mosquitoes are one thing, but there are animals that can carry and spread them too. Chief amongst these are pigs, horses and wild birds, so anyone in proximity to these animals is also at a higher risk of infection.

 

What can you do to protect yourself?

  • Liberally apply an insect repellent like DEET-Free Good Riddance Tropical or Sensitive insect repellent on your body if you think you are going to be somewhere favoured by mosquitoes
  • Wear long, loose fitting clothing to reduce the amount of exposed skin
  • Eliminate standing water breeding sites around your home
  • Store flower pots or unused containers upside down
  • Unclog roof gutters and drains
  • Empty kids’ pools when not in use, and use a pool cover on swimming pools
  • Mend leaking taps
  • Regularly change the water in bird baths and pet drinking bowls
  • Use a fan: mosquitoes are bad fliers, so keeping the air moving in your vicinity will keep them away
  • Install and maintain insect screens on windows, doors and vents
  • Ensure water tanks are completely sealed

 

Best insect repellent: Humans love Good Riddance, but mosquitoes, midges and sandflies hate it

Unlike other insect repellents, Good Riddance contains 100% natural essential oil actives that smell divine (but not to mozzies, midges, and sandflies) with a fresh, sweet floral aroma with herbaceous base notes and a hint of vanilla. The luxurious cream base of shea butter and beeswax not only nourishes the skin but also provides a physical barrier against these pesky bugs, making it the best natural bug repellent!

 

Oh no! I’ve been bitten

If a mosquito, sandfly or midge manages to sneak through your defences, a generous application of Good Riddance Rescue Balm Bite Relief will help to soothe the pain and itchiness.

Infused with delicious-smelling essential oil actives including lavender and tea tree which work as natural antiseptics, the formula also incorporates cooling peppermint and numbing rosemary and clove to reduce irritation. The balm is rich in vitamin E, help oil and tamanu - renowned for their skin repair qualities.


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