By Grace Koelma | Dare List Mama
- 1 Protecting yourself from mosquito bites
- 2 Types of insect protection
- 3 PARA'KITO mosquito protection bands review
- 4 Where to buy PARA'KITO mosquito protection bands
Staying in a tropical location, especially one near a river or lake, means you'll have to pack some sort of insect protection. Cases of malaria and dengue fever are thankfully rare in most populated areas, but if you're going to a remote or rural area, you'll need to check your doctor's recommendations.
Protecting yourself from mosquito bites
Mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk. Annoyingly, all the mozzies we came across in Asia seemed to be completely silent, unlike the mosquitoes back home in Australia, which sound like Black Hawk choppers! So you need to be even more vigilant about protecting yourself from these ninja mosquitoes: get complacent and you'll get bitten without even realising it!
Types of insect protection
You can buy a few different forms of mozzie protection, with different types of ingredients.
Chemical-based 'repellent' protection
- DEET - the active ingredient in most store bought repellents, in a lotion, spray and roll on form. It's considered the most deterrent for mosquitoes, though it contains a strong odour some find repulsive.
- Picaridin - works almost as well, though it is preferred by some because it is odourless.
- The chemicals in these repellents have been deemed safe and endorsed by international health authorities, so using them just comes down to personal preference. We decided that because our son would likely lick anything slightly greasy on his arms, we should find a natural one if possible.
- Chemical-based repellents come with various concentrations of the active ingredient (between 10%-80%) and your choice should be based on how long you need it to last effectively for.
Natural mosquito protection
- Products made from natural ingredients are often considered safer than chemical-based ones when it comes to fending off the mozzies.
- The trade-off is that they won't be as effective in protecting you from mosquitoes, and some may have the potential to cause skin irritation.
- The most common natural substitutes as active ingredients are citronella and Lemon Eucalyptus oil.
As an adult, I was happy to use tropical strength mosquito spray if needed, and burn the citronella mosquito coils, but we didn't like the idea of drenching our 2-year-old son in spray multiple times a day.
Also, it's important to mention that we had been advised that the areas we were travelling to were NOT risk zones for malaria and dengue fever.
Note: always check with your doctor if you're travelling to rural and remote forested areas, anywhere in the world, and take full-strength DEET protection with you.
PARA'KITO mosquito protection bands review
Luckily, before we left Australia, we stumbled upon a recommendation for something we've never heard of before, called PARA'KITO mosquito protection bands.
They sounded too good to be true, so it was with skepticism that I bought one for Leo and I. Luckily, they turned out to be great!
We're big fans of anything that makes our lives easier, and the PARA'KITO bands are awesome because:
- Unlike spray-on insect sprays, PARA'KITO only use active natural ingredients
- they prevent mosquito bites with a mix of essential oils
- they can be worn on the wrist or ankle with an adjustable velcro strap
- you can wear them 24/7 if you like, or take them off at night and put them beside your bed
- loop them around your child's bed or cot at night so they stay protected
- they're so comfortable to wear you hardly notice that you're wearing them (great for kids)
- they're waterproof and hand-washable
How the bands work
The essential oils tablet is inserted into a small netted pouch, and emits strong oils for about 15 days. After that, dispose of the old tablet and insert the new refill into the pouch. (See our note below if you're the kind of person who forgets things!)
Do they actually repel mosquitoes?
I can confirm that the bands definitely worked for myself and my 2-year-old. When we wore them, we weren't bitten at all, and then one night we forgot to put Leo's band on after his bath and he woke up covered with bites in the morning. We never forgot it again after that!
Keep in mind that as you wear them, they become less potent, so you MAY get an odd bite or two near the very end of the 15 day period, but you can either replace the tablets more frequently, use a double barrier by spraying yourself down in those last few days, or simply suffer a few bites!
A word of warning!
While we loved the idea of not having to spray ourselves down with the Aeroguard everyday, the PARA'KITO bands WON'T work for you if you have a 'set and forget' personality! The essential oils in the tablets get less potent every day that they're worn, and if you get distracted or busy, the 15 days can fly past and you'll be wandering around thinking you're still protected, while actually getting bitten.
Set reminders so this doesn't happen to you...
The way we keep on top of things while juggling running three online businesses, full-time travel (and all the planning that comes with it!) AND looking after a toddler 24/7 is to set reminders through G-Mail or our phone calendars. And back up reminders. Always have back ups.
Last week we had a whole bunch of big, unexpected problems crop up just after we arrived in Malaysia, plus we were all sick with colds and coughs. Anyway, somehow Eric missed his alarm to replace our PARA'KITOs. Unfortunately, Leo ended up getting bitten several times by the sneaky buzzing ninjas, and because we were sick and things were a little chaotic, it took us a day or two to notice.
When we finally did, we realised we were 5 days over replacing them (oops!), so no wonder he was getting bitten!
In case you were wondering, I never get bitten (I'm one of those lucky people!). I like wearing the PARA'KITO as a precaution in case I ever meet the very first mosquito to fancy me, but I mostly wear the band to normalise it for Leo. 🙂
How strong do they smell?
Before we bought our bands, I was worried that the stench might be too strong, particularly for Leo, but we found the scent of the tablets very pleasant even at their strongest, and they get weaker as the 15-day period goes on.
For kids and adults
The PARA'KITO mosquito bands come in adult and kid's sizes. Each band comes with 2 tablets, and you can buy refill packs. You can also get PARA'KITO on a keyring, and attach to your backpack or travel bag.
Bonus ID feature
Another advantage we liked was the ability to write Leo's name and our details on the inside of his band, so he'd be identified if he got lost when travelling.
Where to buy PARA'KITO mosquito protection bands
The bands are available in some pharmacies, though we had to search around, and colour options were limited. Alternatively, you can order directly through the PARA'KITO site. Here are a few color options, but you'll see many other color and pattern choices when you click through.
Have you tried Para'kito bands or any other natural forms of reducing how juicy you look to mosquitos? Comment in the box below.
Grace is a writer, designer, digital nomad, mum (otherwise known as toddler chaser), slow traveller, wild things appreciator, culture immerser, coffee opportunist... She frequently uses big words (some of which are definitely made up), likes long walks and even longer books, and her focus on wellness in 2017 means she is learning to obey her FitBit. Except when she's glued to her computer!
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