Only when it is too late, we notice it: An insect has stung us. With their trunk and pinching tool they penetrate into the skin and thereby eliminate anesthetizing substances. After successful blood collection, the insects hunt away again. In order to find their target - humans - insects use a very complex combination of smell, warmth and moisture of the skin. A body temperature of 36.5 to 37.9 degrees Celsius they like especially, as it is commonly found in humans. They also fly on the carbon dioxide in the breath. People have always tried to prevent insects from stinging them, which is why there is a large repertoire of mosquito repellent.
What really helps against insects?
For insect repellent, various measures are available, which we will introduce in more detail below:
- mechanical defense
- ultrasound equipment
Synthetic and natural repellents
To keep away insects, so-called repellents help. They change the skin property, so that mosquitoes, but also brakes, ticks and tsetse flies can no longer locate humans. They look like a kind of camouflage cover. The repellents are available as a roll-on pen, lotion or spray. Active ingredients such as Bayrepel® and DEET (diethyltoluamide) reliably protect over four hours. These funds from the pharmacy have proven to be effective in tests. However, they are not recommended for children under the age of two because skin irritation can not be ruled out.
For applying to the skin, there are also agents with natural ingredients, for example, essential oils of tea tree, citronella or Indian melissa. Here you should try out individually, if they actually work. They are, however, definitely suitable for cooling insect bites.
And as a natural means of preventing the burning of sage leaves has proven in a refractory shell: It keeps most mosquitoes at a distance.
On the other hand, strongly smelling torches or tealights can not always be relied upon. In contrast to chemical "biocidal evaporators". However, these are still only conditionally recommendable, as they contain toxic insecticides such as allethrin or transfluthrin and can cause irritation in sensitive people and children.
Mechanical Defense - Fly Screens & Co.
A sure prevention is also mechanical defense measures. In one's own home, the bloodsuckers can be easily kept at a distance - through screens or gauzes on doors and windows. They are relatively inexpensive in the hardware store and they are easy to install. A safe shelter is also a mosquito net over the bed.
Even the fly swatter should not be underestimated in the fight of the creatures. Even in the run-up: Who smack a mosquito in the house in winter, prevents many mosquito eggs from ripening in the spring. Hatcheries such as rain barrels and open water containers should be emptied or at least covered.
Ultrasound devices are often touted in DIY stores. But when Stiftung Warentest took a closer look at the devices, the bloodsuckers only hesitated ten seconds longer before they left: after an average of 35 seconds instead of 25 seconds without ultrasound. In addition, people with fine hearing hear the high pitch and also are more annoyed than the insects.
Protection by clothing
Clothes can also help keep mosquitoes away: bright clothes do not attract mosquitoes because they are set for dark targets. Pants and shirt should also be cut wide or made of thicker fabric, otherwise the proboscis still reaches through the textile into the skin. And do not forget socks, because your feet and ankles are the most common targets.
Safe defense - a mix
To be on the safe side, who uses a defense combination outdoors. In addition to the right clothes you should rub uncovered skin with a repellent, spray thin fabric with it. Even light sources attract mosquitoes. However, since they can not see yellow light, a yellow light bulb provides useful camouflage.
After a stitch - what to do?
In a mosquito bite, you should note the following tips:
- Since pathogens can penetrate into the puncture wounds, one should not scratch as much as possible.
- If the sting has already become infected or if it is severely red, it is treated with disinfectants. Ointments penetrate deeper into the inflamed area than solutions.
- When swelling envelopes with acetic acid-alumina solution have a pleasant, they have a contracting effect on the skin. Cool and disinfect essential oils such as tea tree oil, tiger balm.
- Gels containing antihistamines help against allergic reactions. Even over-the-counter creams and ointments with hydrocortisone have been proven. In addition, high-dose calcium, preferably as effervescent tablets, also helps.
- Anyone who feels itching and swelling anywhere, other than at the injection site, shows stomach or intestinal cramps or tachycardia should immediately go to the doctor, as this indicates an insect venom allergy. If necessary, the doctor may prescribe an emergency kit for at-risk individuals, usually containing an adrenaline injection and drinkable antihistamine and cortisone preparations.
- Remember, too, that you can refresh your tetanus protection after 10 years at the latest, because bacteria can penetrate the skin at one go!