Preventing Mosquito Bites While Running

Published: 01st August 2009
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If you're going to be outdoors, chances are you're going to run into a mosquito or two. Or maybe you're one of those unfortunate people who seem to attract every mosquito within a five mile radius. Either way, you don't want to get bitten, so you need an effective strategy for preventing mosquito bites while running.

If you're out running, the very activity that protects you also makes you a more attractive meal for a mosquito. You see, the movement and air currents you create as you move will tend to deflect mosquitoes. Unfortunately, that healthy perspiration you've worked up tends to attract mosquitoes at the same time. So how can you prevent mosquito bites while running?

The first step is to choose your running time carefully. Mosquitoes are most active at dusk and at dawn, so avoid running at these times if you can. Next, choose your route. Mosquitoes need standing water to breed, so avoid routes that take you by stagnant water, such as water standing in ditches or poorly-maintained water features.

In addition, mosquitoes can't bite skin they can't reach, so cover as much of your skin as is practical given the weather conditions. Light colors aren't only good for keeping you visible while running, but they're also thought to be less attractive to mosquitoes. If you live in an area where mosquitoes are a serious problem, you might even want to consider mosquito repellent clothing for your outdoor time.

And while sweat is an attractive scent for many mosquitoes, so are other scents, such as those found in scented hair products and scented body products. If possible, use unscented products before you'll be going out for a run.

However, your best prevention against mosquito bites is to wear a repellent. In general, DEET is the most effective repellent. You can buy it in a variety of concentrations and products, including some that come mixed with sunscreen. Just be sure to read the labels carefully and always follow directions regarding application and removal, as DEET can be dangerous if ingested. There are also repellents you can buy that are derived from natural oils, but they aren't as effective as DEET and require more frequent applications, a distinct disadvantage if you'll be running for long periods of time.

One type of repellent that won't work for you is the clip on repellent that uses a fan to circulate chemical mosquito repellent around you. Because you'll be moving, you won't be in any one place long enough for a sufficient amount of repellent to build up around you to give you any protection.

One important note - while running alone may be enough to keep you ahead of any mosquitoes, there are other insects you need to protect yourself against, including ticks and deer flies, particularly if you're running on wooded trails. Be sure to protect yourself from these other insect hazards as well by following the above precautions - even if you won't be in a heavily mosquito-infested area.

You can find out more about mosquitoes at Mosquito Info.

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