Right now, it’s hot and humid on the island of Utila, the smallest of the Bay Islands in the Caribbean Sea and just off the coast of Honduras in Central America – do read my Travel Guide to Utila Honduras – and I’m equipped with an artillery of defences and treatments against the misery of various tropical biting flies – because I’ve visited this Caribbean island many times before – and I absolutely know exactly what I’m up against.
Yes – you might have found your perfect tropical paradise – but can you escape those tiny biting SANDFLIES sometimes called NoSee’Ums? Or those horrible (sometimes tropical disease carrying) MOSQUITOES? Even worse – those wickedly stealthy tropical DOCTOR FLIES – a vicious type of horsefly – that can cause you a welt the size of a golf ball?
Arrrgghh – I’m itching and scratching and feeling anxious just thinking about being attacked by them because I’ve been a victim so many times. I’ve been literally covered in hundreds of bites from tiny biting sandflies. I’ve suffered so many mosquitoes bites and worried about getting Dengue Fever or worse. And those damned Doctor Flies – they are, in my opinion, the worst – because you seldom see or hear them or feel them until it’s waaay too late and then you are left with a massively swollen foot, leg, arm, hand… or wherever else on your person they’ve decided to inflict their nasty bite.
READ ON for my TRIED AND TESTED TIPS on how to AVOID or to BEST TREAT bites from Biting Flies and NoSee’Ums!
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I’ve encountered tiny biting beasties in several places around the world. In Scotland, during damp summers, we suffered from the pesky midge making walking or camping a trial. Sandflies, however, (The NoSee‘Ums) are so tiny that, well um, you can’t see them. Unless they are swarming and by then it’s too late and they are all over you and you are breathing them in.
One thing that a NoSee‘Um has in common with a mosquito is that they are often more prevalent just before rainfall and afterwards and in that it’s only the females that bite. This is because they need blood proteins so they can produce eggs and more pesky sandflies! And, not only are they almost impossible to see, they are annoyingly hard to avoid or repel.
Although preventative measures can and should be taken to avoid being bitten these can include:
1) Staying indoors with all doors and windows closed and the air-con on cold. Not fun or practical!
2) Covering up. The second-best way to avoid being bitten by any biting flies but, like staying indoors all summer, who wants to be covered up from head to foot in the heat and sun of the tropics?
3). Wearing a repellent. This works to a degree against mosquitoes but frustratingly, in my experience, doesn’t seem to work too well against the NoSee‘Ums. Who knows, maybe they don’t have a sense of smell?
Interestingly, it seems to me that there are three types of people in this world.
1) There are those that get bitten by sandflies and go around looking like they have the plague and with a look of misery about them and most of their body parts covered in big round angry itchy welts.
2) Then there are the rare lucky ones who for some reason don’t seem to ever get bitten.
3) Then there is the third type. The type of person that gets bitten but is totally immune.
Ninety-nine percent of the tourists I see here fall into TYPE ONE. I believe TYPE TWO must be practicing voodoo, taste really sour, or have skin like leather. All the locals living on the island here are typically a TYPE THREE.
This means there is hope! It means it is possible for most people – given time – to become a type three because the body will finally start producing a natural antihistamine against the bites.
I’ve been here on this island for almost a month now, but two years ago, I lived on this island for many months – see My Secret Place In The Caribbean. Indeed, after about three months, I started to notice that I was still getting bitten by the sandflies – their bites feel like tiny painful pinpricks – but I was no longer reacting to them. I was not getting the swollen red welts and the bites didn’t itch. And, if the bite didn’t itch and I didn’t scratch then it wasn’t an issue anymore.
I had finally joined those immune types and paradise had indeed been found.
But, as it has been two years since I was here last, I’m apparently back to being type number one again.
And, of course, that’s no help at all to YOU if you are on a tropical holiday/vacation for just a week or two.
So what can you do in the meantime to avoid being attacked by NoSee‘Ums?
1) It seems that sandflies can’t bite you in a breeze so try to sit next to a fan or any stream of moving air.
2) I’ve heard some people advocate eating marmite. I’ve not tried this. I would try this, but being on an island where a boat brings supplies on a Tuesday and a Friday, no one I know has marmite.
3) I do know that sandflies can’t seem to bite you if you are wearing oil on your skin. Any oil might work but I advocate wearing plenty of coconut oil. The little devils might get stuck on you but they aren’t able to get their teeth in so easily.
Mosquitoes and Doctor Flies can leave a much bigger welt on your skin and can inflict terrible pain and itchiness and the worst thing you can do is to scratch. As not only can the bite look worse you might then get it infected. So what to do?
This year, as I said in my first paragraph at the top of this post – I’m armed with an artillery of defences and treatments with which to tackle the NoSeeUm’ and other biting flies and these are my personally tried and tested recommendations to you.
BELOW ARE MY TRIED AND TESTED PERSONAL RECOMMENDATIONS
THE AFFILIATE LINKS ARE EITHER AMAZON UK (£) OR AMAZON US ($)
THESE ARE MY TRIED AND TESTED PERSONAL RECOMMENDATIONS
Have you ever had your holiday/vacation or your summer spoiled by pesky No-See-‘Ums and other biting flies?
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