Mosquito Netting Canopy: Your Best Defense
When traveling or enjoying outdoor activities such as camping, there
is the risk of being exposed to mosquito bites and the potential diseases
that they carry. Wearing clothes that cover your entire body and applying
insect repellent will decrease the risk of being stung, but the safest,
simplest and most effective way to control mosquito bites is to use a
mosquito netting canopy.
When purchasing a mosquito netting canopy, it
is important to be well-informed. Mosquito netting
can be made out of two types of material, polyester
and cotton. Polyester is a good choice as it
is lightweight and longer lasting than cotton.
Cotton netting can be more comfortable, but
it is less durable. Cotton is not water-resistant
and can stretch if it gets wet; it also becomes
heavier and tiresome to carry. However, for
a long stay in a tropical area, cotton netting
would be preferred due to its comfort level.
Mosquito netting canopies, whether made of polyester
or cotton, come in a variety of sizes, shapes,
and thickness of thread.
To increase the efficiency of a mosquito netting canopy, and therefore
maximize your protection against insect bites, it is recommended that
the net be sprayed with a top-quality insecticide, such as permethrin.
The effectiveness of a pre-treated canopy can last up to one year. It
is possible to spray it yourself with an insecticide from the local hardware
store, but a pre-treated canopy is always a safer choice. The standard
amount of insecticide used is usually 350-500 milligrams per squared meter.
The main advantage of a mosquito netting canopy sprayed with insect repellent
is that if the netting becomes torn or damaged during travel, the repellent
still offers some protection against pesky insects.
Are Mosquito Nets the Safest Alternative?
According to studies done by Clive Shiff, a prominent malaria
expert at the John Hopkins School of Health, a mosquito netting canopy
can play a major part in keeping travelers and campers safe from mosquito-borne
diseases, such as malaria. Shiff was a major player in an experiment that
provided mosquito netting to 20,000 families with children in Tanzania.
All the participating children received anti-malarial drugs. The control
group slept without any netting canopy protection, and the treatment group
slept with a net canopy. At the end of the 6-month study, the results
indicated that the primary symptom of malaria, which is anemia, was 50%
less common in the treatment group than in the control group.
Other numerous field trials carried out in Kenya, Gambia, and Ghana showed
that child deaths from malaria could be reduced considerably if a mosquito
netting canopy was used during sleep and resting hours.
Unicef has put a plan into
effect that will help provide mosquito netting
canopies and indoor residual spraying to people
living in malaria-prone areas. It is their hope
that the number of cases of malaria infections
will be reduced by 50% by the year 2010.
Written by Karen Foster: Karen Foster is the content manager and
editor for Tiny Mosquito: Understanding the Mosquito. For more information
about mosquitoes, visit her site at www.tinymosquito.com.
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