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Beware of mosquitoes, ticks and bed bugs when you travel

What you need to do to stay protected from common pests

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Dubai: With the Eid weekend here and summer vacations fast approaching, a leading pest control company is alerting travellers to stay protected from common pests.

Sean Baker, managing director of the newly merged National Pest Control (NPC)-Rentokil, said, “Mosquitoes, followed by ticks and bed bugs top the list when it comes to the menace of pests across geographies.”

He said with the large chunk of mosquito-borne diseases like malaria, dengue and elephantiasis reported from the sub-Sahara region, Africa, Asia and America, people travelling to these regions should take extra care.

He said, “The UAE is free of malaria, so people tend to take advisories on protection against mosquitoes lightly. But wherever they are, they should be vigilant. Stagnant water promotes breeding. As such, due care should be taken with open water tanks, unused swimming pools and buckets and toys filled with water. Use of mesh screens for doors and windows is also good.”

Awareness campaign

In a bid to educate the public on ways to prevent mosquito breeding, Tadweer (Center of Waste Management - Abu Dhabi) recently launched a three-month awareness campaign under the slogan ‘How to protect ourselves and society from mosquitoes’. Dubai Municipality also holds similar campaigns regularly.

Dinesh Ramachandran, technical manager at NPC-Rentokil, said, “When you travel, make sure you carry mosquito repellents, aerosols and creams; wear full sleeve clothes, socks and trousers to minimise the exposure of your skin. It’s not a bad idea to take live mosquito traps and nets with you if you are going to a high-risk area.”

He said those visiting North America and Europe must be careful about ticks which originate from pet animals, horses and sheep, particularly in rural areas.

“If you find a tick on your skin, never remove it with your fingers. Use a fine-tipped tweezer and pull it out steadily with pressure. Don’t twist the tick as this can result in the breaking the mouth which will then remain in the skin. After the tick is removed, the area must be cleaned thoroughly with soap and water.”

Extreme cases

“In extreme cases, ticks spread a nasty disease called Leptospirosis, which without treatment can lead to kidney damage, meningitis, liver failure and even death,” he added.

Stress

As for bed bugs, no country is free of them, Baker said. “They don’t spread diseases but cause a lot of stress and inconvenience. It is important to understand the signs of a bed bug infestation and how the bugs and their droppings look like. A simple check with a phone flashlight can tell you if there are bugs in the joints of a bed or blood spots on the linen.”

“Use low toxic aerosols and sprays on your suitcases as they can bring back bed bugs from your travel,” added Ramachandran.

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