Ask the Doctor: Mosquitoes Ward Off Campers
DEAR DR. DONOHUE: My husband and I have been married for six months.
He’s the outdoor type; I’m not.
He’s planning a camping vacation for us in a couple of weeks.
I’ve tried to explain to him that I am a mosquito magnet and I will be miserable.
I don’t want to be a bad sport, and I want to be with my husband, but the mosquito issue has me dragging my feet.
He says taking B vitamins keeps the mosquitoes away.
Which B vitamin?
What illnesses do mosquitoes spread?
How about AIDS? - N.D.
ANSWER: Some people are mosquito magnets.
Mosquitoes are attracted by carbon dioxide, and they can detect it from a distance of 100 feet.
Your carbon-dioxide production might be slightly greater than others.
Other body chemicals lure mosquitoes.
Everyone produces these chemicals, but not in the same proportions - another reason why some people draw mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes are most active in the early morning and in the evening.
These are the times when you want to be on high alert and use repellents faithfully.
DEET (diethyl methylbenzamide) is an effective repellent with a long history of success.
A product that contains 10% DEET works for two hours; one that has 24% works for five hours.
Another good repellent is picaridin.
Neither DEET nor picaridin is a brand name.
You have to look for these names in the list of a repellent’s contents.
Treating your clothes with permethrin provides another barrier to mosquitoes.
No B vitamin drives mosquitoes away, in spite of the popular opinion that it can.
Garlic and bananas, other grapevine repellents, don’t work either.
Illnesses spread by mosquitoes in Canada and the United States are St. Louis encephalitis, eastern equine encephalitis and West Nile virus.
Encephalitis is a brain infection.
Mosquitoes do not transmit AIDS.
The HIV virus (the cause of AIDS) doesn’t survive in mosquitoes.
In addition, blood obtained by the mosquito from one person is not injected into the next person the mosquito bites.