September 12, 2014
Thailand’s Little Vampire’s.
We are now into the wet season here in Thailand, which of course leads to both the occasional sodden clothes and worst still the annoying and dreaded Mosquitoes or Thailand’s Little Vampire’s.
If the little blood suckers have gotten through your defences, then the following list of natural remedies should be readily available throughout the Kingdom.
Tea Tree Oil
While not found naturally here in the kingdom, the active ingredient in the oil can be found in medicinal Thai ginger called plai. This Thai remedy acts in the same way as Tea tree oil, as an anti-inflammatory, and alleviates itching, swelling, and pain. It is also believed to have anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties, which will help to prevent infection in the bite area.
Aloe Vera is found in a lot of household plants, simply break a leaf and apply the juice directly to the area. This soothing remedy is excellent for both the actual bite and the itching.
Sold by street vendors still in the honey comb. Dab a small amount of raw honey directly onto the bite. Its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties will soon soothe the itching and irritation. Honey also prevents infection and speeds up wound healing. Honey can also be used to treat burns, coughs, sore throats, allergies, and a wide variety of other ailments.
A Dry Bar of Soap
Something that really should be easy to find, rub a bar of dry soap directly on the bite. This will help provide temporary relief to the itching, you will have to continue to rub soap as the relief is not long term. Remember to wash it off thoroughly after the itch fades away.
Basil is used widely in Thai cooking, crush the leaves and apply it to the bite. The leaf contains thymol and camphor, both which will relieve itching. These compounds also contribute to the strong smell of basil
Lime or Lemon Juice
The citric acid in lime and lemon juice can relieve itchiness. Either squeeze some juice onto the bite or cut a thin slice of the fruit and rub it on the area. This treatment will also prevent infection, as both the juice and the peel have anti-bacterial properties. Do not use this remedy if you plan on spending time in the sun. Citrus oil reacts with the sun and may cause blistering.
Another food stuff readily available, simply place a fresh slice of onion on the affected area for several minutes until the itching subsides. Be sure to wash the area thoroughly afterwards.
Try rubbing a piece of raw garlic on the wound. As with the onion and lime remedy it is possible that you will feel a small amount of mild burning, it is worth it as you should feel some major relief within a few minutes. Another benefit is you now have further protection from larger Vampire’s lol, but seriously there is research suggesting that the smell of garlic will also help repel the mosquitoes from biting you further.
For quick relief from mosquito bites, try applying a small amount of all-natural peppermint toothpaste. Allow the paste to dry and leave for as long as desired. It is the peppermint that is the active ingredient, while this does work it is possibly the least effective of those listed here.
Tiger Balm is based on a “secret” herbal formula that dates back as far as the Chinese Emperors, you will find it everywhere and carried by almost everyone in the Kingdom. In fact most Thai’s swear by its ability to treat a whole raft of conditions and ailments from relieving back pain, joint pain, stiffness, sprains, and arthritis, to relieving headaches, sinus congestion, and treating mosquito bites.
When using some of these treatments you may find it necessary to treat the bite more than once before the remedy starts working. Whatever you do, do not scratch the bite as this could lead to infection. If the bite swells or forms a large welt, it could be a sign that you are allergic to mosquito bites and which could lead to complications, if this happens see a doctor or pharmacist as soon as possible.
The best form of defence when dealing with the pesky insects is to use mosquito repellents ever day especially in the early evening and try to avoid stagnant water as this is where the little blighters love to hang out and party.
What to apply first sun cream or bug repellent
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that you apply sunscreen first before applying insect repellent. Rub or spray on each product according to the label instructions. When applying to the face, put a small amount of lotion or spray in your hands before spreading and avoid getting the product into the eyes, nose or mouth and try to keep these products out of open wounds such as cuts and scratches.
Remember that while sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours (or more often if you’ve been in the water or sweating), insect repellent may last for many hours. If you are still getting bitten by mosquitoes, check to see if it is not other insects e.g. ants and check the label to see how often the repellent may be reapplied, if at all.
Unlike sunscreen, which you’ll want to apply generously, it’s best to use just enough insect repellent to cover exposed skin especially around the ankle and elbow joints.
Researchers are unclear as to the reasons, but mosquitoes tend to prefer certain victims over others, including men, people who are overweight or obese and those with type O blood. Also, because mosquitoes are attracted to heat, wearing dark colours (which absorb heat) may make a person more likely to be bitten.
It is also noted that you are at greater risk of being bitten if you eat bananas.
Facts about the little blighters
Mosquitoes haven’t survived for millions of years by being anything less than bloody minded. Even the best preventative measures probably won’t avert all bites, the best you can ever do is take the basic of precautions in the hope that they will stop the majority of Vampires in Thailand from dining out on you.