Sustainable Travel - Avoiding Bites

Posted in Blog on 16th November 2022

There are many ways to make your travel more sustainable. These days travellers are generally more eco conscious and many make an effort to travel sustainably, fly less, pollute less, use biodegradable products etc. However, there is another way you can contribute to eco-conscious tourism and ensure those hidden sanctuaries remain safe and protected.

Your choice of insect repellent.

Until a few years ago, most people would simply head to their latest store or pharmacy and grab the first repellent on the shelf. Most likely, this would have been made with a chemical called Deet. What you may not know is that Deet was originally developed for use by the US army following experience of jungle warfare in WWII. It was originally tested as a pesticide and entered military use in 1946 and civilian use in 1957. It has remained the ingredient of most regular insect repellents to this day.

There is no doubt that Deet offers effective protection against insects, but that effectiveness comes at a price. What many people do not know is that Deet is considered to be moderately toxic to humans and is not designed for long term use. It is a neurotoxin, which means it can be toxic to the human nervous system. In high concentrations it can cause seizures, headaches, nausea and even death! However that is not all. It is also incredibly harmful to the environment. When applied to skin, it can be absorbed into the bloodstream and then into urine. From there it can make its way into waterways where it can affect fish and other aquatic creatures. It can even be found in drinking water. Couple that with people swimming in rivers while wearing insect repellent and it’s easy to see how it can contaminate the food chain and harm water life and other parts of nature.  Suddenly that little hidden sanctuary you've found is at risk.  However everyone still needs to use insect repellent sometimes.

Thankfully we now live in a world where there are alternatives available. There are different natural options on the market from PMD, lemongrass and citronella to hybrid repellents which are a mix of Deet, or other chemicals and Natural products. There are also many home made natural repellents too. Many new natural repellents can be just as effective as Deet – Just make sure you follow all instructions carefully. Often natural repellents need to be re-applied more frequently so find one that suits your requirements and carry with you at all times.

Take the time to do some research before you travel to make sure you have a product that suits your requirements and destinations, ideally use a product that has been clinically tested if you are able. Check if there are any mosquito borne diseases in the area you are heading to – and at what time of day the mosquitoes there are most active. Mosquitoes that carry Dengue actively bite during the daytime. And always remember if you are heading anywhere at risk of malaria to use a mosquito net at time.

Responsible travellers can have the best of both worlds, protection against insect bites while also protecting the environment around them.

Incognito offers a complementary range of natural and sustainable travel products. Please use code TRAVEL15 for 15% off your next purchase. Travel sustainably this winter.

For more information on sustainable travel please visit our blog www.avoidingbites.com

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