How To Ensure A Zika Free Holiday
In the Caribbean where the tropical atmosphere inevitably brings out our tiny (but not so friendly) friends, it would be helpful to know:
when they are more prevalent and
how to prevent being bitten by these little vampires.
What You Should Know:
The weather plays a significant role with any type of small terror in any country but, humidity and bugs generally tend to go hand in hand. In the Caribbean, the temperature is generally consistent all year round, averaging anywhere from 75°F to 89°F (24°C to 32°C), and does not deviate much from island to island; so, as you can imagine, the Caribbean never lacks heat nor humidity. Overall, there tends to be an increase in the number of mosquitoes present during the rainy season, as their incline is directly related to the increase in rainfall – which usually occurs in autumn.
Although the temperature is relatively consistent throughout the Caribbean, the amount of rainfall an island experiences can differ immensely from island to island. Bahamas’ rainy season falls in the month of May and lasts until October, on the other hand, Antigua & Barbuda can be considered one of the driest islands in the Caribbean which experience most of its rainfall during July until October. Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao also experience the least amount of rain compared to other islands within the Caribbean chain with an average rainfall of just over 20 inches being experienced in Aruba & Curaçao, and just over 18 inches in Bonaire.
Generally, the majority of rain that most islands experience occurs during the hurricane season which lasts from June 1st until November 30th. This season should not bring about panic because hurricanes are tracked via satellites enabling for ample warnings to be given and precautions to be taken if necessary.
As the rainy season passes and the rainfall declines, the busy season for tourists visiting the Caribbean picks up. This season generally lasts from December to April. But, not only is the weather great and the rain is rare but travellers are also trying to escape from harsh winters back home to the warm tropical oasis that these islands provide.
Why Does the Rainy Season Attract Mosquitoes?
Water is an important component of the mosquito’s life cycle as they spend their first 10 days in water. The eggs are first laid one at a time and float on the surface of the water. Water is a vital part of their habitat and necessary for the eggs to hatch into larvae. The larva then continues to live in the water as they feed on microorganisms and organic matter in the water but comes to the surface to breathe. Later, they change into pupae and at this time the mosquito changes into an adult.
In short, the presence of water allows for the reproduction of mosquitoes. Therefore, the increase in rainfall allows for the increase in ideal environments which later results in mosquito reproduction.
Here’s how to take precautions to avoid being bitten:
Whenever possible, and weather permitting, cover up!
For extra measure, use insect repellent (with active ingredients such as DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, IR3535 and 2-undecanone) where the skin is exposed. If outdoors, apply sunscreen (and allow to dry) before applying the insect repellent.
If you’re against using insect repellent, mosquito coils or even citronella candles are great alternatives.
You can also feel free to use an electric mosquito killer – it can be more time consuming (and sometimes exhausting) but effective nonetheless!
Use insecticide spray especially at night but vacant the vicinity so the spray can work on the mosquitoes and not on you!
Bed nets are also great for those looking for a non-toxic alternative to insecticide spray.
Remember, mosquitoes are fonder of humid environments rather than colder environments so crank up the air conditioning (if possible) to drive them away.
Take a look around your immediate surroundings and discard of any stagnant water, including any objects which may easily catch water from rainfall, to avoid giving mosquitoes a habitat to reproduce.
Avoid (as much as possible) low-lying areas. Areas which have strong gusts of wind tend to drive mosquitoes away.
Don’t let these little vampires ruin your vacation, come to the Caribbean but be sure to take the normal precautions to ensure an enjoyable, pest free vacation!