Watch Out for Mosquitoes in Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico is home to the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which can be recognized by the unmistakable white markings on its thorax as well as its legs. However, this species is not known for its markings but for its role as a vector for a number of tropical fevers, which is why the Aedes aegypti mosquito is more often called the yellow fever mosquito.
Fortunately, there is no chance of a visitor catching yellow fever in Puerto Rico because it has not spread that far. Unfortunately, visitors can catch dengue, which can kill by causing internal bleeding in extreme cases, and chikungunya, which can leave serious chronic symptoms such as asthenia, joint pains, and muscle pains.
In fact, the chances of catching these infectious diseases are so high in Puerto Rico that around four-fifths of Puerto Ricans have been infected with dengue and around one-quarter of Puerto Ricans have been infected with chikungunya over the course of a year, which has been attributed to a lack of concern among the general population as well as the current financial difficulties of the Puerto Rican government.
Even worse, it should be mentioned that Puerto Rico had hundreds and hundreds of confirmed cases of the Zika virus in 2016, which should be familiar to people who have been paying attention to the recent news as the infectious disease responsible for causing pregnant women to give birth to microcephalic babies. Given the ease with which other infectious diseases have spread throughout Puerto Rico, it is feared that the Zika virus will become more and more widespread in the near future, meaning that visitors should be prepared to engage in mosquito control for the sake of protecting themselves.
How Can You Protect Yourself From Mosquitoes When You Travel to Puerto Rico?
Here are some examples of how visitors to Puerto Rico can engage in mosquito control:
First and foremost, wearing loose clothing klamboe that covers the arms and legs can do a great deal to lower the number of mosquito bites. This is because loose clothing makes it more difficult for mosquitoes to bite through the fabric while covering up the limbs reduces the number of opportunities for them to feed.
Second, stay indoors when mosquitoes are most active. It is important to note that different species of mosquitoes are most active during different times, but in Puerto Rico, the most dangerous hours for people attempting to avoid the pests are in the mornings as well as the early evenings.
Third, stay away from the places that mosquitoes are known to breed because they will have more of the pests than elsewhere. Generally speaking, mosquitoes can be found close to bodies of stagnant water, which tend to become particularly common after rainfall. As a result, visitors to Puerto Rico who can spare the time and effort should consider removing potential containers for pooling water from where they are staying as a simple but nonetheless useful method of mosquito control.
Fourth, use insect repellent but make sure that it has been formulated for mosquito control rather than other species because not all products are suitable for all pests. As a result, interested individuals should seek out products containing either DEET, IR3535, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus, which have been proven to be effective when it comes to mosquitoes. They should know that higher percentages of the active ingredients tend to mean longer-lasting effectiveness, though they should always follow the instructions that come with the product for the sake of their own safety.
Fifth, some people like to spray permethrin on their gear as well as their clothing, which should serve to repel mosquitoes because it is a pyrethroid that disrupts the normal function of their neurons. However, interested individuals should make sure to avoid spraying the pesticide onto their skin because it has been known to cause skin burning and irritation upon contact. Furthermore, they should make sure to use permethrin with care and consideration because excessive exposure has been known to cause nausea, headaches, muscle weakness, and other symptoms in humans.