Protecting against mosquitoes

Mosquitoes can be unpleasant and spoil your United States vacation if you're not prepared. Read the following information carefully for a truly enjoyable and memorable trip!

Mosquitoes are at their peak in the Eastern United States in June (there are far fewer in the Western U.S. and Florida). They will remain all summer long, but their number will gradually decrease with the warmer temperatures. 

Mosquitoes lay their eggs in water. It is therefore on the banks of rivers and streams that you will them in abundance. 

They are also much more active at sunrise and sunset than during the rest of the day.

3 tips to protect yourself from mosquitoes

1) Wear long, light-coloured clothing. Be sure to pack some in your suitcase.

2) Use a mosquito repellent made with DEET or lemon eucalyptus. The MUSKOL brand is the most effective. Note that mosquito repellent creams and sprays have an expiration date. Most of them have a shelf life of one year. We strongly recommend that you purchase a new bottle when you arrive in the U.S.

3) When enjoying outdoor activities in the forest, avoid wearing perfume or other sweet-smelling products that may attract them.

Why do they bite some people more than others?

Some people attract mosquitoes more than others. In fact, the explanation is relatively simple. Mosquitoes, like many living things, react to certain chemicals, such as carbon dioxide, sweat (uric acid), lactic acid, and many other substances produced by the human body. 

For example, it is known that an epidermis that produces sweat rich in fatty acids (such as butyric acid, with a hint of ammonia) is more at risk of repeated bites. It is also important to note that mosquitoes are attracted to oestrogens, which means that, in general, mosquitoes prefer women to men.

It appears that some drugs also have an attractive effect on stinging insects, such as certain treatments for cholesterol or cardiovascular disorders... The same goes for some cosmetic products (the ladies are certainly their victims of choice!)

Why do bites itch?

First of all, it is important to know that only the female mosquito bites. She requires blood to develop fertile eggs, and will take it where she can find it! It is not the act of piercing the human skin that generates pain or itching. 

It is when the mosquito injects saliva (a powerful anti-coagulant that neutralizes platelets so that the blood remains liquid and flows more easily) that our body reacts: our mast cells (specialized cells in the lower layer of the dermis) then secrete histamine.

This neurotransmitter, which is also secreted during allergic reactions, is the main cause of the itching and redness. The itching sensation starts in the minute following the secretion of histamine, continues for 2 to 3 minutes, and fades about 10 minutes later... And it's very difficult not to scratch!

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