Why you should really travel with a Mosquito net
Since 2001 when I first went to SE Asia, the number of travellers I have met who carry a mosquito net, I can still, 15 years later, count on one hand. For heavens sake.
The mosquito. That dammed insect that buzzes around, bites you all over the place and carries malaria and dengue fever and a few more to boot. Googling 'mosquito borne disease', after 0.45 seconds the search is done.
"Diseases transmitted by mosquitoes include: malaria, dengue, West Nile virus, chikungunya, yellow fever, filariasis, Japanese encephalitis, Saint Louis encephalitis, Western equine encephalitis, Eastern equine encephalitis, Venezuelan equine encephalitis, La Crosse encephalitis and Zika fever".
Mosquitoes cause millions of deaths. In 2015 Malaria caused 438,000 deaths * WHO
You see dumb assed bloggers writing shite like '8 things I never leave home without'. I have never done a post or even thought about what 'things' I would always take BUT I know for sure that I will always be packing my mosquito net.
I do all I can to avoid being bitten. Dengue fever mozzies bite in the day. Malaria ones bite from dusk til dawn. I don't know all the stats as to when certain ones bite or any of that shit but we all know that most mozzies start coming out to play around dusk. We cover up. Long pants, long sleeves, bare flesh sprayed with some good old DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide). We go to bed and become our most vulnerable. I heard one story that a mozzie needs to be biting you for around 20 seconds before it can pass on malaria. Is that just a joke or some old wives tale but during the night they have ample to time to dig in their proboscis.
I met a fair few Yanks in Africa doing their bit for humanity, aka their CV, mosquitoes are rampant there. These kids, are lectured by the Peace Corps that they must ALWAYS TAKE THEIR ANTI MALARIALS yet they don't remind them to make sure the net is secure around the bed so the mozzies don't get in.
Earlier this year I was in Mozambique. It was the wet season and the mozzies were making life hell for me. There is a high rate of malaria there. I did what I could to avoid being bitten. Some times you just cant do anything. You need to poop, exposing your butt for how ever long you need to, to complete your business, you need to shower. You put yourself at risk. There was a Peace Corp volunteer at the hostel for a few days, he had all these bites all over. He had slept with the net un secured. You know what his stupid fucking dumb reaction to seeing all the bites was?
'It's OK, I'm taking anti malarials'
Anti Malarials do NOT stop you getting malaria. They simply suppress the symptoms and also force the blood test to show a negative result until you are in a real bad way. I've been in Africa. I've talked with many westerners who live there, full time. I know the stories.
In Africa, the WHO distributes mosquito nets freely. People are slowly realising that lives, their lives, their kids lives, can be saved by sleeping under a net. In Ethiopia, there was a Brazilian girl working with MSF (Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders). She was in a refugee camp up near the Eritrean border and she told us how the WHO changed the colour of the nets from white to blue cos the women were using the nets to make wedding dresses.
90% of the deaths from malaria in 2015 were in AFRICA. 15 countries, all located in Sub Saharan accounted for 80% of African malaria deaths. 7% of deaths occurred in SE ASIA. Yeah that's where I am and no one sleeps under a net.
I used to ask, "why don't you use a net?", now I hardly even bother to talk to them, the young ones fresh out of diapers running around with their dad's credit card as they have never even put in a full days work.
Answers were, ranging from "I can't be bothered,", "the fan keeps them off" (no it doesn't).
Even if you take away the disease risk factor it's still worth using a net. The buzzing drives me insane. And also, you are not just protecting yourself against mosquito bites, there are so many other things in this part of the world that I can guarantee you don't want giving you a bite. Have you seen the spiders in the jungles here, or the big hairy one I flattened in Cambodia as it made its way down the wall.
I use a LIFE SYSTEMS SOLO BOX NET. It weighs in at 390 grams and you fix the 4 corners and tuck the net under the mattress. I carry 4 hooks and each corner I have 1.5m of nylon string and I carry about 5 meters of para-cord which I string across the room and fix the net onto. The hooks I can screw into wooden window frames or such like and even when staying in a concrete cell like room I can fix the net using GAFFA tape. The tip here is to stick the strings to the wall way before you will be needed to sleep. Give the tape time to get sticky and then it will stay stuck all night. If I am staying a few nights I untie the net from the string, for the day time so the weight of the net doesn't pull the tape off.
The LIFE SYSTEMS box mosquito net. I need my mosquito net. I can not, will not sleep a night in the tropics without it. And then I must have some hooks, GAFFA TAPE, string and PARA CORD to hang it up with. As seen in Sub Saharan Africa, 2015.