“Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.” –Mark Jenkins

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

29 days to go - Clothing and the dreaded mosquitoes

My blood has been an irresistible attraction to mosquitoes in every country I have ever visited and I can’t convince myself Kenya will be any different, so I’ve been browsing on e-bay for clothing this week. I’m really looking for lightweight, insect-proof stuff which I can impregnate with DEET to keep the mossies and ticks at bay. I have no intention of getting out of the vehicle whilst in the bush, but back at the camp at night and under only canvas, I can’t see how I will escape them. The Kenyan website gives the following advice;
Insect and tick protection
"Wear long sleeves, long pants, hats and shoes (rather than sandals). For rural and forested areas, boots are preferable, with pants tucked in, to prevent tick bites. Apply insect repellents containing 25-50% DEET (N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide) or 20% picaridin (Bayrepel) to exposed skin (but not to the eyes, mouth, or open wounds). DEET may also be applied to clothing. Products with a lower concentration of either repellent need to be reapplied more frequently. Products with a higher concentration of DEET carry an increased risk of neurologic toxicity, especially in children, without any additional benefit. For additional protection, apply permethrin-containing compounds to clothing, shoes, and bed nets. Permethrin-treated clothing appears to have little toxicity. Don't sleep with the window open unless there is a screen. If sleeping outdoors or in an accommodation that allows entry of mosquitoes, use a bed net, preferably impregnated with insect repellent, with edges tucked in under the mattress. The mesh size should be less than 1.5 mm. If the sleeping area is not otherwise protected, use a mosquito coil, which fills the room with insecticide through the night. In rural or forested areas, perform a thorough tick check at the end of each day with the assistance of a friend or a full-length mirror. Ticks should be removed with tweezers, grasping the tick by the head. Many tick-borne illnesses can be prevented by prompt tick removal.
To prevent sandfly bites, follow the same precautions as for mosquito bites, except that netting must be finer-mesh (at least 18 holes to the linear inch) since sandflies are smaller."

Janet has kindly given me the remains of their insect repellent (25% DEET) from their trip to the Mara in September and I think I still have some left in the van from our time in Australia, (where’s Linc and his Dugong fat when you need him!).
I am also going to forget the risk of rabies and spend the money on more SD cards instead. I weighed by camera bag last night and without my laptop it’s already 8 kilos!

1 comment:

  1. I don’t know if it will help in the future, but as a child playing in the meadows and woods, mosquitos, chiggers, and ticks were always a problem until my grandmother got a clove of garlic, and broke into smaller pieces. She cut the pointy end off and I swallowed it whole. 1 piece a day and the rest of the summer…was virtually bug free. I don’t know if it would work for you but it seemed effective for me. Doesn’t help with poison ivy…but that’s an altogether different issue.