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Dengue Fever – Tips to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes in Thailand

South East Asia has been declared the region with the greatest risk of contracting dengue by the World Health Organisation. Instances of Dengue are on the rise but YOU can control most of the risk factors. Even as we enter into the last few months of the wet season in Thailand for 2022, we’d urge you to keep alert to the possible dangers of mosquitoes.

There are many. easy precautions you can make to avoid being bitten.

The Aedes Aegypti mosquito is also known as the ‘tiger mosquito’ with the distinctive black and white stripes. They most frequently bite at sunrise and sunset but this species also bites during the day. But you’re only at risk if the actual mosquito is carrying the Dengue virus. They don’t carry a big sign if they do, so assume all mosquitoes need be kept away from you!

Conservatively, at least 50 million people contract Dengue each year and Dengue is thought to cause around 20,000 deaths per year around the world. Dengue fever can take around a week to incubate after you’ve been bitten. Then you might start with a measle-like rash followed by a fever and lack of energy.

Some people even suffer excruciating muscle and joint pain. Victims describe it as flu-like symptoms but many react quite differently depending on the strain of the virus. You can catch Dengue more than once and it can become more dangerous with successive infections.

Luckily in Phuket, there are frequent gangs out spraying (fogging) the worst affected areas to help minimise your exposure to mosquitoes.

Here are a few tips about avoiding Dengue when you are coming to Phuket…

• Most mosquitoes ‘hang around’ close to the ground so your feet and legs dangling under the table are an easy target and out of sight. You won’t even know they’re there.

• Sunrise and sunset – these times of the day you need extra precautions against mosquitoes. They will be around. If you are at an outdoor venue at the time make sure the fans are circulating the air under the tables and you have a quick spray of repellent.

• If you smell nice, perfume or after-shave, the mosquitoes will be attracted too.  When they’re not biting you they’re usually attracted to flowers. Bland is better if you want to avoid mosquitoes. 

• Mosquitoes are attracted to bright coloured clothing. Bland coloured clothes are less attractive to mosquitoes. 

• Whatever you apply on your skin to deter mosquitoes, you’ll need to re-apply every few hours.  If you’re outside in Phuket you WILL be perspiring and this both washes away the repellent and provides a new attractive scent for the mosquitoes.

• If you’ve been out all day, trekking or walking, pounding the pavements, swimming in the sea, you’ll be sweaty, salty and ripe for the mosquitoes. 

• Have a shower, without using scented soap or lotions to be less attractive to the mosquitoes.

• Mosquito coils work very well as a general deterrent but you’ll need to be sure that the coil’s fumes are blowing in your direction. Set them on the ground, where most of the mosquitoes tend to gather, around your legs and feet. 

• Mosquitoes are attracted to light so if the lights are off outside and on inside, the mosquitoes will be headed towards the light.

• Spray your room before you go to bed. Mosquitoes will track you down, wherever you are. If there’s a hole in your room’s defences, mosquitoes will find a way in.

• Best to spray your room before you sleep and keep the doors and windows closed.

• A mosquito net above your bed is a cage that keeps you in, and the mosquitoes out. A good fan will also work very well but it’s got to be blowing hard enough so the mosquitoes can’t land on your body.

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