Sunday, June 5, 2011

Fighting Fire with Fire

With all the heavy rains we've had this spring, many fields are still standing full of water.  That's never good omen when it comes to bugs.  The wetter the spring, the more mosquitoes we have to deal with all summer long.  This spring, we can add black flies to the mix as well.  They're even worse than mosquitoes, and I react badly to them.  They have the annoying habit of biting your face, especially near the hair line, and if you wear glasses like me, you'll appreciate the fact they like to go under your frames.  NOT!

Short of marinating one's self in DEET, there's really no simple way around the bug situation.  My theory is simple - they either like you, or they don't.  I fall into the unfortunate former category, so I have tried a variety of repellents.  Deep Woods Off works, but I'm not sure which I'd prefer, mosquito bites or neurological damage?  Methinks I'll go with the bites.  I hear those brain cells are hard to replace.

We've used Druide's Citronella spray with mixed results.  It slows them down, but it doesn't stop them dead in their tracks, either.  I've resigned myself to the fact that mosquito bites are a reality, and if their bites can't be prevented, they can at least be managed.

Meet my arsenal:

First order of the day is the Druide Citronella oil.  Unlike DEET, it can't harm, so I spray it on.

Second order, for treating those bites, is Fenistil Gel made by Novartis.  This is one of the top-selling OTC products in Germany and Egypt, and one has to wonder why, in a country so rife with stinging insects, we aren't able to procure this item here?  Many things leave me shaking my head, but this has got to be one of the great wonders of the industrialized world.  This is my miracle cure.  I might have to reapply a few times a day, but it stops the itching almost immediately.  I used to itch myself until I bled, even unwittingly in my sleep, so this is a dogsend for me.  I'd say it cuts healing time in half.  I just wish we could get it OTC here in North America. 

Third order, despite the infomercial on YouTube that looks like a snake-oil pitch, I stand by my Therapik.  The Therapik works on the premise that the venom from certain stinging insects such as mosquitoes is thermolabile.  That's a fancy way of saying the venom is broken down by heat.  The Therapik delivers just that:  heat.  Run on a 9V battery, the Therapik heats up your skin, and in about 30 seconds or so, you're good to go.   I purchased mine through Lee Valley, so I knew if it didn't work, I could return it with Lee Valley's no-nonsense return policy.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that it does work as advertised.  Newer models being sold look different than mine, but it appears to be the same thing, just different packaging.  I find that I need to use the Therapik several times per bite, but it does work to reduce itching and decrease healing time.

Between the Therapik and the Fenistil, I'm good to go on the mosquito front.  I won't leave home without them.

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