Britons heading abroad to visit family and friends for the festive period are being urged to pack mosquito repellent along with their Christmas presents.

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Figures show 81 per cent of malaria cases in the UK are as a result of trips abroad to see relatives and friends, and the main sufferers are British citizens of African descent who are not protecting themselves while away.

Mosquito expert Howard Carter, who founded natural insect repellent incognito after suffering from malaria and dengue fever in the space of year, said travellers planning trips at Christmas needed to start thinking about what precautions they were going to take to protect themselves.

“Travellers visiting friends and family abroad account for more than 80 per cent of malaria cases in the UK,” he said, “but there is a misconception among some travellers that they are immune to the disease having grown up in an endemic country. Some simply forget to take precautions because they associate mosquito repellent with holidays and don’t see their visit to relatives as a holiday.  Whatever the reason for a trip to a country where malaria is common, people should ensure they pack repellent and a mosquito net to help prevent being bitten.”

In 2010, 679 cases of malaria out of 839 reported cases in travellers from the UK occurred in people visiting family and friends abroad, while holidaymakers from the UK accounted for less than 10 per cent (83 cases). Figures also showed that out of a total of 1,716 cases of malaria in the UK, 1,170 (68%) were in people who had travelled to or from African countries.

Mr Carter added: “Thankfully, deaths from malaria in the UK are rare but it remains a significant health risk for UK travellers and can have serious consequences. A bottle of repellent does not take up a lot of room in a suitcase, so as you pack all your Christmas presents slip in a present to yourself and your health.”

Mr Carter has devised CLOAK – an acronym which offers six tips to help prevent mosquito bites:

C – Cover up arms and legs with suitable clothing.

L – Light coloured clothing is strongly advisable.

O – Odours, bodily or otherwise like certain kairomones and perfumes, are strong attractants. Therefore washing thoroughly which includes exfoliating with a loofah is essential to minimise odours.

A – Apply an effective insect repellent.

K – Keep away from stagnant water.

incognito is a DEET-free spray made entirely from natural ingredients including Eucalyptus maculata citriodora and has proved to be 100 per cent effective against more than 3,000 varieties of mosquito and other biting and stinging insects. incognito offers more effective  protection than chemical repellents and can also be used by groups such as young children, pregnant women and people with skin allergies who are not recommended to use DEET-based products.

Other products in the incognito range include toiletries such as soaps, shampoos and after sun cream, mosquito nets, incense sticks and essential oil organic Java citronella oil.

incognito can be contacted on 020 7792 8687 Monday-Friday, 10.30am-6.30pm.

Editors Notes

Data on cases of malaria from the Health Protection Agency: Health Protection Agency malaria statistics

There are only 2 species of Citronella and Java is the most effective.

There is nothing stronger on the market than incognito spray and it is made of completely natural ingredients, including Eucalyptus maculata citriodora, and has a fresh pleasant smell.

During development, the product has been shown to be effective against all species of mosquito and other biting and stinging insects. It has also been fully tested by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and has been certified to give 100 per cent protection against Anopheles gambiae mosquito. It is also the only product to be approved by Trading Standards as ‘clinically proven to protect against malaria’.

incognito also offer a range of other natural products to keep mosquitoes and other biting insects at bay including mosquito nets, incense sticks, essential oils, after sun lotion, soaps and shampoos.

The incognito spray and other products are available at Waitrose, Holland & Barrett, John Bell & Croyden, Planet Organic, Whole Foods, Trailfinders Travel Clinics, health shops and direct from the incognito website

Please note, incognito is spelt with a lower case ‘i’

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