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a VirtualTourist member from New York City asked on Mar 12, 2014


Visiting coastal Manta, Ecuador in June

Are bug bites a big problem? I would prefer not using deet and chemicals, is there a natural repellent? Garlic? Ginger? Should I plan on long sleeves in the evening? CDC recommends Malaria, typhoid & hepatitis A - any thoughts and ideas?

7 Answers

answered on 3/12/14 by
a VT member from Province of Ontario

Yes; see a travel medicine clinic for professional medical advice, rather than asking us amateurs here at VT.

As for insect repellents; sorry, there is NOTHING other than DEET that works. You can take that from someone who lives in a place where there are lots of mosquitos. The best defence against any mosquito borne illness is to avoid being bitten; and anti-malarials, while very effective (assuming you are taking one that works against the local variety of the malarial parasites; hence the reason for professional medical advice), so DEET mosquito repellent is a very good first line of defence. Even with long sleeves; the mosquitos will penetrate right through your clothes.

As for Hep A and Typhoid (amongst others including the regular shots like tetanus); my immunizations are right up to date. I travel to developing countries quite regularly; we just got back from Ethiopia and Guatemala and we see a travel doctor prior to every trip.

answered on 3/12/14 by
a VT member from Hesperia

You should of course ask a professional, ansd not non-medical people on a forum. This is too important to leave to amateurs, including us. I know what tp tell you, but all it takes is one contradictory response, and both responses cancel each other out and you are even more confused.

I see you are a Noo Yowker (saw your cowboy boot joke.....), so do not juast go to your regular doctor. Go to a travel medicine clinic, and see a pro. After all, you would not go to a proctologist for a heart murmur..........

Your regular doctor or doctors in general in the US, are clueless about tropical medicine, but they will never admit that so they go and look it up in an out-of-date book. As a tour director, I often had to have a pre trip meet just to correct and unravel the useless crap told to my tour members by their doctors. it was bloody criminal, with potentially deadly consequences.

Malaria is nothing to play with. It can and will kill you. Do the right thing and don't balk at the added expense, - how much is your life worth? All it takes is one mozzie. One.

As for being bootless in Houston, they won't even issue you a visa to enter Texas, without the requisite cowboy boots and the Stetson hat, - says so right on the paperwork..........d:o)

answered on 3/12/14 by
a VT member from Europe

I visited the Ecuadorian coast (Canoa, Bahía and Puerto Lopez) in June/July two years ago and I can't remember bug bites being a problem at all. If I had got a lot of bug bites I would for sure have remembered that. I didn't use any insect repellents in the evenings.

I didn't take any malaria pills either (and had been told it was not necessary). However, there is a small risk of malaria in coastal regions. As the above posts says you should definitely visit a travel medicine clinic for the right advice when it comes to vaccinations and malaria pills.

answered on 3/13/14 by
a VT member from New York City

My immunizations are up to date, I've checked the CDC as well.

When I went to Borneo the deet bothered my skin, the people there told me that their foods are natural bug repellents, and I found extra garlic & ginger in my food worked fine I never got bitten. The huge furry spiders & leeches were another issue ...

answered on 3/13/14 by
a VT member from Province of Ontario

Again, this is a very good reason to seek expert advice. While the locals made similar comments in Borneo and in the Amazon, they were swatting mosquitos while they left me along.

Based on the reserach (and by that I mean research that meets scientific standards, rather than anecdotal evidence), DEET seems to be the only thing on the market that does work.

At home in the woods in the spring, I will wear a mesh bug jacket;; but I find they are not great for mosquitos, but are my "go to" approach for black flies (these are biting, rather than stinging insects). They look silly, but there are necessary in the woods in the May / June periods around here. I have a top and bottom and wear light glvoes to protect my hands and wrists.

answered on 3/25/14 by
a VT member from Manta

Hi, I lived in Manta - Ecuador, this beautifull city is like many other tropical cities in the world, Manta has a dry season mostly the whole year, during months of January, February, March, part of April it rains not a 100%, but probably 30% or less, mosquitoes, bug bites appear because is high in humidity, and you could use a natural repelent which is aloe vera, is cheap and you found every where, and if you got a mosquito bite use lemon or ice right away, take vitamins C, and drink lots of plenty orange juice, your inmune system will work as a defense against all this insects.

Hope this could help you, come and enjoy you trip, Manta is a perfect oasis of natural beauty and tranquility.

Best Regards,

answered on 4/9/14 by
a VT member from Guayaquil

Yo eh vivido en Manta y no existe ataque de mosquitos.

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