SWATTING THE MOSQUITO MYTH – FORGET TASTE, MOSQUITOES LOVE HOW YOU SMELL
Our mosquito expert is making it his mission to bust the myth that it’s all about taste when it comes to how attractive a mosquito finds you.
Instead, says Howard Carter, people should be more worried about how they smell and a good beauty regime – using the right products – can reduce the chances of being bitten. “Washing properly using anti-mosquito products, as well as exfoliating, reduces your attractiveness to mosquitoes by 50%. That means your chances of being bitten are cut in half,” he said.
“Mosquitoes do find some people irresistible and so many times we hear the phrase ‘you must be tasty’ but really that has very little to do with it. Unfortunately,” adds Mr Carter, “it’s not as simple as whether you smell good or bad either; mosquitoes are turned on by our natural body odour and by perfume, whether it’s the spritz kind or mixed with lotions and creams.”
Combining coconut oil, sesame and citronella oil, incognito – the company founded by Mr Carter after he was struck down with both malaria and dengue fever in the space of a year – has launched a new re-formulated luxury soap to help protect against mosquito bites.
“The new soap has a fabulous fresh fragrance which will camouflage people’s natural odours,” said Mr Carter. “Most ordinary soaps contain chemicals and perfumes which actually attract insects; using this soap, particularly in conjunction with other incognito products, will significantly reduce the chances of being bitten.
“Another tip to minimise mosquito bites is to exfoliate every 2-3 days. This will remove the impurities within skin pores that skin bacteria feed off and which emit a powerful kairomone (body odour) in the process.”
incognito offers a range of anti-mosquito products which are made entirely from natural products, including repellent spray, shampoo and after-sun lotion.
Mr Carter said the risk posed by mosquito bites is one which holidaymakers and travellers could not afford to ignore.
Malaria is one of the most significant diseases in the world. According to figures by the Health Protection Agency (HPA), the number of UK residents being infected with malaria has increased by 30% over the past two years.
The trend towards more exotic holiday destinations can explain the rise, according to Mr Carter. And travellers should be aware that anti-malaria medication alone is not a panacea as some malaria parasites have built up resistance to anti-malaria drugs.
Experts agree that the best protection is to not get bitten at all and Mr Carter has devised CLOAK – an acronym which offers six tips to help prevent mosquito bites. They include:
C – Cover up arms and legs with suitable clothing.
L – Light coloured clothing is strongly advisable.
O – Odours, bodily or otherwise like certain kairomones, soaps and perfumes, are strong attractants. Washing thoroughly which includes exfoliating is essential to minimise odours.
A – Apply an effective insect repellent.
K – Keep away from stagnant water.
For more information on how to avoid insect bites, visit the incognito website . incognito can be contacted on 020 77928687 Monday-Friday, 10.30am-6.30pm.
mosquito heart graphic via conservation-research.com