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Bite Back Travelers: Dominican Republic

Documenting Bite Back Outreach Team members on their encounters with mosquitoes around the world & sharing some helpful advice for those who are ready to #TipTossTravel

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Here Comes the Bride, All Dressed in ... Bites?

No one dreams of being bit up by mosquitoes on their destination wedding trip. Luckily, one engaged couple invited Bite Back Team member, Ally, to their beautiful Indian wedding in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. 

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Ally shares her travel tips and mosquito experiences, so be prepared to learn how to pack your suitcase, your lehengas, and your repellent because mosquitoes & their diseases love to travel too ...

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Ally's Tip: Research your destination's travel advice & resources.

Who is the hottest girl in the world? The girl who doesn't have mosquito bites.  

two men at a beach reading magazines

Ally loves Bollywood movies and like many modern movie plots, she just wants to live her best life -- bite-free. While preparing for her trip, Ally's destination advisory page recommended using repellent while visiting. 

She made sure to get TSA-approved repellent wipes that were easy to stash anywhere: her pocket, her husband's backpack, her husband's luggage, and well you get it ... but to be fair, gorgeous lehengas take up space. 

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Image of Ally's daily essentials.
Ally's Tip: Get the right ingredients in your repellent!

Repellent only works if it has the right ingredient and the right percentage of it for your activity. Essenstial oils and other repellent myths are not scientifically proven to protect you from mosquito bites. 

How to choose repellent & where to buy it 

How to choose & apply repellent:

Choosing which repellent to use is a personal choice, as long as you choose 1 of the 4 CDC-recommended active ingredients:

  • Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (also known as PMD)
  • Picaridin
  • DEET
  • IR3535.

The active ingredients will be printed on the front of any repellent bottle, along with a percentage, which is a range of how long protection will last -- like sunscreen. 

Similar to sunscreen, you apply evenly onto exposed skin whenever you are outdoors. This includes your face, however gently apply repellent onto your hands and then pat onto face.

Always follow the directions on the repellent bottle label and have adults apply repellent onto children. 

Where to buy repellent:

You can buy repellent online or in any superstore or outdoors store. Usually, repellent is found in the outdoors or gardening aisles. 

Remember that repellent comes in many forms:

  • Repellent aeresol sprays
  • Repellent wipes
  • Repellent lotions
  • Repellent liquid sprays

Repellent can also be scentless or come in a variety of scents.

person applying mosquito repellent

Ally's breakdown of repellent ingredients:

  • Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (also known as PMD) 🟢 Ally's favorite!
  • DEET 🔵 Globally popular & easy to find anywhere
  • IR3535 🟡 More common in Europe
  • Picaridin 🟠 Usually scentless
Ally's Tip: Get rid of any stagnant water before flying out.

Packing and preparing for a trip can be stressful, but coming home to a mosquito party in your yard is even worse!

plate, arm, person, plant, brick, asphalt

Plan ahead to TIP out stagnant water and TOSS the container in the trash or put it way where it won't get wet. Ally's weekly ritual of yard maintenence means more mojitos and less mosquitoes. 

Ally's Tip: Pack long & loose fitted clothing. 

Ally recommends packing long and loose fitted clothing so you don't have to risk getting bit by mosquitoes. Traveling can be a little chaotic sometimes, so smart clothing and applied repellent can reduce possibility for mosquito-borne disease infection.

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Image of Ally's husband appying repellent to his minimally exposed skin at the wedding. 
Ally's Tip: Always save a repellent wipe for the Bride!

While in the Dominican Republic, Ally faced hot and humid weather which combined with the dense vegetation in the area, was perfect place for mosquitoes.

The repellent wipes came in handy since the mehndi party was held outdoors in a beautifully dense but dangerous mosquito zone. 

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Image of Ally getting her mehndi done, without getting any mosquito bites.

Ally was the only wedding guest who brought repellent wipes to the mehndi party and everyone was trying to get their hands on it. 

Some guests simply forgot the repellent in their rooms, while others never put it on their packing list, including the bride who got some nasty bites while getting her mehndi done. 

Ally's Tip: Carry repellent wherever you go.

While repellent wipes are great for travelling, they're also perfect for anytime you're out and about. Whether you're going to your local farmers' market or for a hike in the mountains, you're at risk for mosquito bites.

Ally's love for repellent wipes may have started with her trip to Punta Cana, but they'll stay stashed in her bag or pocket wherever she goes. 

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Image of Ally enjoying the wedding without mosquito bites.
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🖋 Written by Ally Gaspar, Outreach Assistant