Mosquito bites aren’t just an itchy nuisance. Mosquitoes can transmit parasites, worms, viruses and deadly diseases through their bites.
Wearing protective clothing can help you avoid being bitten, provided the fabric and fit are impervious to mosquitoes.
In this article, we explain what types of clothing to wear and which to avoid. We’ll also discuss other ways to reduce mosquito bites.
Mosquitoes have six sharp, long mouthpieces that can penetrate light fabrics as easily as skin. These mouth parts are known as proboscis.
Fabrics like cheesecloth or spandex can easily be penetrated by a mosquito’s proboscis, allowing them to suck out your blood while they inject saliva into you.
This table shows a list of substances and the protection they offer.
The fit and shape of clothing are important
For a mosquito to come into contact with the skin under clothing, the fabric must have skin-tight or tight-fitting parts, e.g. B. yoga pants, light undershirts or tights.
If you wear loose clothing made of impenetrable fabric, mosquitoes can only bite you if they can penetrate the garment.
Avoid wearing loose-fitting items with bell sleeves or shorts that expose bare ankles.
The color of the clothes makes a difference
The color of clothing also plays a role. Mosquitoes are attracted to heat, and dark colors hold more heat than light ones.
Light-colored clothing tends to dissipate heat. This means that mosquitos will notice you less often in a white or light yellow garment than in black, brown or navy.
Spraying mosquito repellent on clothing helps
Since mosquitoes are attracted to the smell of human sweat, it can be helpful to spray mosquito repellent on clothing and exposed skin.
Repellants like DEET (N, N-Diethyl-Meta-Toluamide) and Picaridin mask the odor of human sweat.
You can also buy permethrin-treated clothing
You can buy ready-made clothes that have been treated with permethrin. Permethrin isn’t technically an insect repellent – it’s an insecticide designed to kill or incapacitate mosquitoes on contact.
Wearing clothing made from permethrin has been shown not to provide complete protection against mosquito bites. Some manufacturers of permethrin-treated clothing suggest using a repellent such as DEET as well.
The combination of DEET and clothing treated with permethrin can offer almost 100 percent effectiveness against mosquitoes.
There is no data to suggest that detergents of any kind help make clothing mosquito-proof.
Some mosquito repellants can be used on clothing, exposed skin, or under clothing.
When using repellants directly on the skin, avoid getting them in the eyes or other mucous membranes.
Do not use repellants or insecticides on babies or children without consulting the pediatrician. Do not use products made for pets.
Some of the repellants that you can spray on your skin include:
- DEET. This repellant can be sprayed on clothing or on the skin.
- Lemon eucalyptus oil. This oil should not be used directly on clothing or on skin under clothing.
- Picaridin. Picaridin can be sprayed on clothing or on the skin.
- IR3535. This repellant can be sprayed on clothing or the skin.
Precautions Against Permethrin
Some mosquito repellants, such as permethrin, shouldn’t be used on the skin or inhaled.
In addition to purchasing pre-treated clothing, you can purchase permethrin spray to treat your clothing yourself. Make sure that you are only using permethrin that is sold for this purpose, and not the type that is intended for agricultural use.
The correct way to treat clothing with permethrin is:
- Hang your clothes outdoors.
- Do not inhale permethrin spray during use.
- With gloves on, spray the entire garment according to the instructions in the package until completely damp.
- Let the clothes dry completely before wearing them.
Avoiding mosquitos doesn’t mean you have to eliminate time outdoors. Techniques for preventing bites include:
- Use a mosquito net. These tightly woven nets are often made of polyester. You can find hats with mosquito nets that you can pull over your face. Hanging mosquito nets are also used indoors to cover people while they sleep.
- Wear closed shoes and socks.
- Tuck your pants in socks and make sure no skin is visible.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts with buttoned or Velcro cuffs.
- Avoid areas with standing water as these are breeding grounds for mosquitoes. These include paddling pools, bird baths, clogged rain gutters and puddles.
If you are bitten by a mosquito, there are home remedies that can help reduce the itchiness. How to treat a mosquito bite:
- Wash and rinse the area of the bite or bites with soapy water.
- Apply witch hazel to the bite on a cotton ball or by squirting from a spray bottle.
- Apply a cold compress for 5 minutes.
- Take an antihistamine.
If you or your child has a severe allergic reaction that includes extreme swelling, body pain, or a fever, call your doctor.
Mosquitoes can get on your skin and bite you through thin, skin-tight fabrics.
Wearing heavier fabrics can help reduce mosquito bites. It is also important to cover as much skin as possible.
Mosquito repellants can also help. Some of these can be sprayed onto clothing and skin. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using mosquito repellants.
The combination of DEET and clothing treated with permethrin may offer the most complete protection against mosquitos.