I recently discovered that Lavender can be used as a natural, environmentally friendly way to treat mosquito bite pain. Since over 3,500 species of mosquitoes exist worldwide, you might consider packing some lavender essential oil in your first aid kit and taking it along on trips with you.
Male mosquitoes feed on nectar and do not pose much of a threat to humans but females rely on nutrients from animal blood to generate and lay eggs. Mosquitoes are a vector or “carrier” of the malaria parasite as well as other diseases and these cannot be cured by merely applying lavender oil. This point is worth considering before traveling abroad where proper attire and vaccinations should be sought out with the help of a professional.
On a an interesting side note, scientists are currently working on a genetically engineered mosquito species which could carry a vaccine for the malaria parasite instead of spreading it. These flying vaccinators as they are called would help to build up immunity over time (through multiple bites) in a cost effective way, saving millions of human lives worldwide. This is especially true in Africa where, according to the World Health Organization, one in every five childhood deaths is caused by malaria. Keep in mind however, that bites from flying vaccinator species of mosquitos would still itch and could benefit from the application of lavender in some situations to reduce annoyance. It may be a while until we actually see transgenic mosquitoes being released into the wild, so always take proper safety precautions.
Mosquitoes are sometimes called by different names depending on what part of the world you are in and the following list should help you communicate or relate when traveling:
- mosquito or musketas
- les moucherons or les cousins
- stechmucken or schnacke
- myg or myyga
- konopus or empis
It’s worth noting that scratching mosquito bites could lead to bleeding and infection and should be avoided. There are several commercially available anti-itch medications that could be sought out including Benadryl, hydrocortisone and triamcinolone. Some non commercial remedies include calamine lotion and vinegar or a mix of water and meat tenderizer containing papain. For both solutions use a brush to scratch the area surrounding the bite and run hot water (around 49 °C) over it to alleviate itching for several hours. These solutions work by reducing histamine-induced skin blood flow. Remember, you should always consult a doctor or trained medical professional in emergency situations.