India / Living in India


Because mosquitoes deserve a whole post…

And I hate them with a vengeance.

To someone whom mosquitoes love and is somewhat allergic to both mosquito bites as well as mosquito repellents that are applied directly on the skin (including organic ones) – living in India (or other developing tropical/sub-tropical countries) is a bane. My first month here was horrible because the weather was warmer (more mosquitoes) and I did not have the necessary strategies to cope with them. Every night, some annoying bugger would be buzzing in my ear and the next morning there would be bites on my face and any other exposed parts of my skin. If I put on mosquito repellent, I would also be itching for the next few days thanks to rashes that will develop.

It does not help that the mosquitoes here carry diseases – mainly Malaria, Dengue, Chikungunya and Japanese Encephalitis. The travel clinic back home did not recommend Malaria pills because to quote the nurse, “if you are living there, it is better that you develop an immunity to it”. Every time I get a mosquito bite, I worry.

But it has gotten better and here are my recommendations if you ever find yourself in such a situation.

  1. Sleep under a mosquito net. It is essential for a good night’s rest. You can get those tent-like ones that do not need any installation – just put it over the bed and you are good to go.
  2. Long pants and long sleeves – loose better than tight. Some “ramboskeeters” will bite through cloth.
  3. If you live in an apartment, a mosquito mesh over windows and doorways are a good solution.
  4. I do not recommend burning those electric vaporisers because of the toxic fumes but if necessary, just for a short while in a well ventilated area.
  5. Burning citronella or lemongrass oil is only a deterrence but is not entirely effective. I burn them just before bedtime for the purpose of shooing any buggers out of the bedroom.
  6. Johnson anti-mosquito and deet-free baby lotion or Pigeon anti-mosquito wipes are an acceptable (but not 100% effective) solution. This also applies to those citronella patches or clips. They work when there are more desirable mosquito candidates around you, but not when you are the only target.
  7. If you can get your hands on it, Xiaomi’s nifty little portable electric mosquito repellent  is a clever device. Again, I don’t recommend using any heating device that emits any kind of fumes in an enclosed space. However, the reach of this one is small and is very useful in specific circumstances. I use it when I am out and about – in local Indian airports to prevent those fellows from coming too near me or when I am having a meal to which I put it under the table to prevent my legs from becoming mosquito fodder. It is powered by a powerbank making it extremely portable.

Mosquito bites are still not 100% unavoidable but any reduction is better than nothing at all. Thanks to these bites and my allergy, I now have quite a few more circular scars on my hands and legs. I am also now able to differentiate which bite came from a Culex mosquito and which one from an Aedes mosquito because I react to both bites differently.

I need to say it again. I hate mosquitoes.






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