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Insect Bites Are Biggest Summer Bugbear for Kiwis

Insect Bites Are Biggest Summer Bugbear for Kiwis

According to a recent national survey, mosquito and sandfly bites are the biggest annoyance for Kiwis over the summer months. Results revealed that 65 percent of New Zealanders regard biting insects as the most irritating thing about summer. The survey also showed that Fiordland and the South Island’s West Coast are regarded as the worst places for bug attacks.

James Fraher, CEO of Skin Technology, the New Zealand skincare company that led the survey, is not surprised by the results. He also warns that insect bites are likely to become even more of an issue over the coming weeks, with the wet, warm start to summer leading to a rise in bug numbers.

“The South Island and Lower North Island had a wet, muggy start to 2013. These are perfect conditions for biting insects such as mosquitoes, which need stagnant water to breed,” says James. “While we are fortunate not to have disease carrying bugs in New Zealand, they can still cause a nasty, itchy bite and skin infections. Not the nicest way to spend your summer.”

Pharmacies throughout New Zealand have noticed a significant increase in the amount of bite-related enquiries as well as sales of insect repellent. This includes Unichem Richmond Mall in Canterbury, which recorded a 300 percent increase in insect repellent sales from November to December.

Simon Alexander, Pharmacist at Unichem Richmond Mall recommends using a proven insect repellent to keep sandflies and mozzies at bay. Preferably, one that doesn’t irritate the skin and is effective.

“One of the best insect repellents is Picaridin because it is safe, effective and recommended by the world health organisation,” says Simon. “For treating bites, I would recommend using Medicreme topically as it is numbing and an antiseptic, in combination with Levrex, which is an oral antihistamine. Seek medical advice if there is any signs of tracking from the bite site or if after 48 hours you haven’t seen any improvement.”

Beat The Bite This Summer:

1) Eliminate standing water. Objects that can collect water provide for perfect breeding areas for mosquitoes. This includes plastic wrappers, tarps, tires, planter saucers, toys and clogged gutters.

2) Keep it breezy. Mosquitoes don’t like strong wind currents; sitting next to a fan will keep them away.

3) Keep it light. When considering your attire for outdoor activities, think white and light as mosquitoes are attracted to dark colours.


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