Mosquitoes and I, we’ve got a love-hate relationship going on. They love me, I hate them.
Whenever I say this, there’s always someone in the crowd who claims they know what I’m talking about, that they have much worse problems with mosquitoes than me and my complaint is nothing in comparison.
Then I disclose that I’m allergic to the saliva that mosquitoes inject, causing every bite to turn red and angry and swell to the size of a lemon.
And still, there’s someone who swears they know what I’m talking about or accuses me of exaggerating. This is followed by a flurry of unsolicited advice, as if I haven’t tried everything under the sun in three decades. None of these work:
– Skin so Soft by Avon
– Ingesting VitaminB1 or Thiamine year-round
– Tea Tree Oil
– Spraying Beer on bushes and shrubs to create a diversion (what a waste of beer, besides that)
– Fabric softener sheets and vanilla extract
– Rings of junk that you burn or citronella candles
– Soundwave machines
– Catnip oil
– Anti-mos – Made of pine oil, garlic oil and camphor
– Wearing khaki, beige and olive green
– Using unscented soap, no perfume
– Cedar or Cedarcide
Every partner and boyfriend I’ve ever had claims he’ll take the burden from me, lay himself in sacrifice to protect me from the big, bad stingers. I want to believe him, so I douse myself head to toe in DEET, while he sleeps next to me unprotected.
The next morning, my “protector” has one or two bites, and I’ve got more than a dozen. Apparently, the mosquito did a blind taste test and decided to use him as an appetizer and me as the main course. Why have sirloin when you can have filet mignon? LOL. What can I say? I’m tasty.
This apparent tastiness gets me bitten in Granada, Spain in the dead of winter while there is snow on the mountains; on a crowded bus in Athens in January; in an air-conditioned office without windows.
If I forget to spray the bottoms of my feet and between my toes, that’s where I’m bitten. If I don’t dab a bit on my ears or mist the top of my head, I’m bitten in the part of my hair and behind my ear (do ears even have blood?). If I forget to lift my long hair and spray my neck, I’m bitten there. If I take off my shirt for 15 seconds to put on a new one while traveling, I’m bitten.
I once opened the sunroof of an SUV I was driving, and within a few minutes, a mosquito flew in at 40 mph, bit me and escaped. On a trip to India, eleven companions thanked me for being around because none of them got bitten.
Does the mosquito community have GPS and real-time announcements to alert hungry locals of feeding opportunities? I have an announcement of my own: “Attention mosquitoes of the world, I am not a roving American buffet table!”
It would almost be amusing if it weren’t painful. In the first 12 hours, bites swell like welts. After 24 hours, they’re the size of lemons except angry and red, hardening the skin to the point that joints don’t bend easily, I feel dizzy and my body feels like it’s pulsing with poison.
Calamine, cortisone, ice packs and anti-histamines are of little or no help. Sometimes a paste made of water and meat tenderizer has a cooling effect, but it’s messy and the swelling remains for at least three days. And after a week or two, the deep red angry itchiness finally subsides.
So how do I avoid this? By remaining covered in DEET, outdoors and indoors, 24/7 day or night in summer and anytime we travel no matter if it’s winter, spring or fall, accompanied by two liquid/tablet machines within a living room space. Needless to say, I am not a camper or sleep-on-the-beach type person.
And why is this on my mind? Because my Greek counterpart and I were sleeping with one (not two) liquid/tablet machine and the air conditioning running the other night, and I mistakenly believed I was safe. Now I’m covered in lucky number 13 bites.
Aside from wearing mosquito net clothing, there is a remedy I haven’t tried that affords one year of immunity. You go to a mosquito-infested area, lay down and allow the buzzers to bite the crap out of you — tribesman who perform this annual ritual swear by it.
Other than the fact I’m pretty sure my hospitalization won’t be covered by IKA, I think my answer is, “hell no!”