Top 5 ways to protect yourself from insect bites abroad


(NC) Travelling abroad is a great way to introduce yourself to new cultures, people and places. However, it may also put you at risk for travel-related diseases.

Zika virus, malaria, chikungunya, yellow fever and dengue are spread by mosquitoes. But you can also get Lyme disease, tick-borne encephalitis and Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, which are spread by infected ticks. 

When planning your travel abroad, be sure to follow these five simple steps to protect yourself and your family from infected insects that spread these diseases:

  1. Visit a travel health professional. Do this at least six weeks before you travel and find out if there are any vaccines or medicines you can take to help prevent illness spread by mosquitoes.
  2. Cover yourself. Use insect repellent on exposed skin that contains DEET or Icaridin (also known as Picaridin) and wear light-coloured, long-sleeved, loose-fitting, tucked-in shirts. If you are engaging in outdoor activities such as camping, fishing or hiking, wear long pants, shoes or boots (not sandals) and a hat. Taping the cuffs of your pants or tucking them inside your socks or shoes will provide extra protection against crawling insects like ticks.
  3. Consider your accommodations. Try to stay in rooms that are completely enclosed or well screened.
  4. Use mosquito netting. Sleeping outdoors or staying in a building that is not completely enclosed or well screened increases your exposure to infected insects and the diseases that they carry. Covering your bed, playpens, cribs or strollers with mosquito netting will provide extra protection against these bugs.
  5. Educate yourself. Learn about the insects at your destination that can spread diseases and know their peak biting times, such as day vs. night. Find more information at canada.ca/insect-bite-prevention.

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