Unlike the stings of bees or wasps, mosquito bites are common vectors of various infectious diseases. On the plus side, anaphylactic reactions are rarely an issue here. The increased amount of time we will spend outside in a societal breakdown will increase the chances of spreading one or more of these problems.
Mosquitoes and Collapse Scenarios
Normal insect control programs will no longer exist, so larger bug populations (and the disease organisms they carry) will be rampant in many different areas. To give you some statistics, third world cases of illnesses passed by mosquitoes. In a collapse scenario, the state bird will be the mosquito.
Malaria is an example of a typical mosquito-borne disease. It is caused by a microscopic organism called a protozoan. When mosquitos get a meal by biting you, they inject these into your system which then inhabit your liver. From there, they go to your blood cells and other organs.
By the way, only female mosquitos bite humans.
Symptoms of Malaria
Symptoms of Malaria appear flu-like, and classically present as periodic chills, fever, and sweats. The patient becomes anemic as more blood cells are damaged by the protozoa. With time, periods between symptoms become shorter and permanent organ damage may occur.
Diagnosis of malaria cannot be confirmed without a microscope. In a power-down situation, anyone experiencing relapsing fevers with severe chills and sweating should be considered candidates for treatment. The medications, among others, used for Malaria are Chloroquine, Quinine, and Quinidine. Sometimes, an antibiotic such as Doxycycline or Clindamycin is used in combination with the above. Physicians are usually sympathetic towards prescribing these medications to those who are contemplating trips to places where mosquitos are rampant, such as some underdeveloped countries. Don’t be shy about broaching this subject with your healthcare provider.
Other mosquito-borne diseases include Yellow Fever, Dengue Fever, and West Nile Virus. The fewer mosquitos near your retreat, the less likely you will fall victim to one of these disease. You can decrease the population of mosquitos in your area and improve the likelihood of preventing illness by:
- Looking for areas of standing water that are breeding grounds. Drain all water that you do not depend on for survival.
- Monitoring the screens on your retreat windows and doors and repair any holes or defects.
- Being careful to avoid outside activities at dusk or dawn. This is the time that mosquitos are most active. Wear long pants and shirts whenever you venture outside.
- Have a good stockpile of insect repellants.
The most useful chemical repellant to stockpile is DEET (scientific name N,N Diethyl-Meta-Toluamide) and it works against both mosquitos and ticks. In most circumstances, a concentration of 10-35% DEET will provide adequate protection. The longer the protection required, the higher concentration you should use. Cover exposed skin AND clothing, and wash both afterwards.
There are some natural substances that repel insects. Plants that contain Citronella may be rubbed on your skin to discourage bites. Lemon balm (actually a member of the mint family), has a fragrance similar to citronella but does not have the same bug-repelling properties. When you use an essential oil to repel insects, re-apply frequently and feel free to combine oils as needed. Besides Citronella oil, you could repel mosquitos with:
- Lemon Eucalyptus oil
- Cinnamon oil
- Peppermint oil
- Geranium oil
- Clove oil
- Rosemary oil
Protecting yourself from mosquito-borne illness with some simple preventative measures will greatly decrease your risk of a number of possibly life-threatening diseases. Spend some time planning before mosquito season arrives in your area, and you’ll have a head start on staying healthy in times of trouble.
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