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Dealing with Mosquitoes in The Dominican Republic

Along with the general annoyance of mosquito bites, the risk of diseases such as Dengue Fever and Malaria exist in the Dominican Republic. It is important to know how to prevent mosquito bites.

Mosquitoes can be particularly pesky creatures.  Even the smallest bite can cause a lot of discomfort.  Along with having to deal with inflammation and itching, you may also be at risk for contracting a potentially fatal disease.

Prevention

The following are some techniques that will help you to avoid getting bitten.  Not all techniques will work for every individual as several factors play into ones attractiveness for mosquitoes, including our scent.

  • Wear long pants and shirts from dusk till dawn (this can be uncomfortable if you’re not used to the heat and humidity in the Dominican Republic)
  • Purchase clothing that is pretreated with an insecticide for use in more high risk areas
  • Use a mosquito repellent with an appropriate concentration of DEET for your needs (be cautious with using it on young children)
  • Sleep under a mosquito net (preferably one that is pretreated with an insecticide)
  • Ensure there are no areas of standing water in your home (one place we sometimes have issues with is the tray under our dish drainer)
  • Avoid shady, cool and/or humid areas
  • Use a fan to keep a steady breeze on you
  • Avoid perfumed personal-care products

Other more natural, and sometimes less effective, prevention techniques and repellents include:

  • Eating raw garlic
  • Clipping a dryer sheet onto your clothing
  • Using citronella products
  • Sitting near a campfire
  • Lemon eucalyptus oil
  • Vitamin B1

Mosquito repellents are widely available in the Dominican Republic along with other more natural remedies.  In our Dominican apartment we use citronella candles and incense, ceiling and standing fans, bed nets and repellent containing DEET.  The mosquitoes here tend to be smaller than American mosquitoes so be sure that your bed nets have a small weave and that your windows have screens.  Because of their smaller size, they can also be more difficult to detect when they land.  Interestingly, my Dominican friends seem to get bit much more infrequently than us non-Dominicans.  Again, your level of mosquito attractiveness is dependent on your natural scent, along with any other unnatural scents you end up wearing.

Bite Treatments

Similar to prevention, there are many different ways to treat mosquito bites and some work better than others – depending on the individual.  Additionally, individuals can react very differently to bites, including allergic reactions.  Personally, the use of an aloe lotion helps to calm the itching of bites I receive and creating a “sunburst” shaped indentation on the bite with my nail helps to lessen the inflammation.  Here are some other articles which contain techniques that may work for you:

Over 40 Mosquito Bite Itch Relief Tips

15 Natural Treatments for Mosquito Bites

How to Treat a Mosquito Bite

Mosquito Bites – Bite Treatment

Disease

Malaria and Dengue Fever are two diseases that you may be at risk of contracting while in the Dominican Republic, along with many other locations.  There are several steps and precautions you can take to lessen this risk.

Malaria is more predominant in rural areas of the country, whereas Dengue Fever is prevalent in both urban and rural areas.  Both diseases are given to humans through mosquitoes – more specifically, through mosquito bites.  Both diseases have the potential to be fatal, however, there are medications to both treat and prevent malaria but not there are none for Dengue Fever.  Prior to coming to the Dominican, be sure to see your doctor about the preventative drugs that are available for use before, during and after your trip.  It may be necessary to try out a few of the options as some can create unpleasant reactions in particular individuals.

In the Dominican Republic, malaria outbreaks occur infrequently, but when they do they are usually in rural areas – including resorts.  Major cities, such as Santo Domingo and Santiago, are usually free of malaria.

The symptoms of both diseases are similar to that of having the flu.  The Mayo Clinic site contains excellent information on both Malaria and Dengue Fever.

Dengue fever can be treated through the traditional rest and fluids in its mildest form.  If it worsens, hospitalization may be necessary to combat the symptoms.  Malaria can also be treated by one of several drugs. 

Be sure to see a doctor if you think you may have either of the diseases.

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