Summer in many areas of North America often means it's time to try to avoid the mosquitos, so here are my five cents on that topic. Because of an impending camping trip, we've been dietarily preparing for the hoards of mosquitos that one finds in the Canadian wilderness, and believe me there are plenty. In a lot of campgrounds it seems that mosquitos have actually grown immune to every kind of repellent from the oh-so-chemically-laden DEET to 100% organic citronella. I've tried every kind of natural repellent: rosemary, citronella, lavender, you name it. None of them work.
To make matter worse, mosquitos love me. Now I know that everyone says this, but I think my blood won some kind of mosquito-friendly award I wasn't aware of when I was a baby. On my first camping trip, I got over 30 bites on just one leg in one night. Everyone else? A couple bites, maybe a few more over there... the next night, I got bites on my face, my eyelid, and more. Ick.
But no more! I decided this could not happen again. At the time, I downed anti-histamines like there was no tomorrow just to cope with the pain and itching. But even then, I knew how bad that was so I took matters into my own hands and did some serious mosquito repelling research. In conclusion, I come with three pieces of advice for you that are the only ones that have worked for me:
1) Wear light colored clothes (like white and off-white instead of black). I don't remember why this works, but it does.
2) Stay clean. And by that I mean shower. I know you're camping and want to forget life's little inconveniences, but mosquitos thrive on sweat and dirt, so the cleaner you are, the more likely they are to leave you alone. (Use citronella shampoo or soap for an extra bonus).
3) Diet. Mosquitos like to bite people who have eaten high-potassium foods. So if you know a camping trip is coming up, refrain from eating these foods for a least 3-4 days before your trip (that's how long your body may take to cycle out all those foods and related-nutrients). On our most recent trip, we avoided eating high-potassium foods for about 4-5 days before our trip. So no bananas, strawberries, melons, brazil nuts, and we avoided mangos as well (though I'm not sure why). (p.s. isn't it awesome that I can google-image "no bananas" and actually get thousands of hits?)
The results were amazing. Using these three tips, I reduced my mosquito bites from over 50 by the end of the trip to less than 10 the next year. Yes, you do have to plan ahead, but trust me, it's worth it.
On top of that, I'm going to take the opportunity to mono-fruit our meals while we're there just to make life easier. I'm obviously sticking with "mosquito-safe" fruits. For 6 days, we've accumulated 15 grapefruit (also nature's own sunscreen and after-sun food!), 12 apples, 8 peaches, 2 bags of grapes (green and purple) and 6 oranges. I'm pumped.