Mosquitos are a real nuisance whenever you encounter them, but the wet and warm climate of Bangkok – combined with plenty of dirty sewers and standing water – means that these pests are quite a problem. You will notice plenty of mosquitos swarming around, biting your ankles while you enjoy a meal at a street food stall or buzzing in your ear while you try to sleep. The rainy season is the worst time of year for mosquito bites, as the increased moisture allows them to thrive.
Unfortunately, in Southeast Asia mosquitos are not just annoying – they also pose serious threats for disease and infection.
Scratching mosquito bites in a dirty, hot, moist tropical environment can quickly cause your bites to fester into serious infections. This can lead to pus, fever and oozing around the bug bite – which can develop into a serious skin infection if it is not treated right away.
Another major risk factor is malaria. According to the World Health Organisation, more than one million people every year are killed by malaria – which is delivered by mosquito bites. There are also plenty of other illnesses that can be transmitted by mosquitos such as dengue fever, so it is important to avoid bites as much
In most places mosquitos are more active at dawn or at dusk, which means that you can avoid them by staying inside or covering up with clothing and bug spray containing DEET during these times. However, in Bangkok you might find that the mosquitos are a problem all throughout the day – so you will need to be on your guard at all times. This is because there are several different species of mosquito here, all active at different times of the day and night. Use a mosquito netting on your bed to protect yourself while you sleep.
Sometimes, you might even find that mosquitoes (and other bugs such as ants) will hide within the fruit you bring home from the market places in Bangkok. Also, mosquitos will sneak into your homes through the air ducts and the gaps in your windows and doors. They travel close to the ground to conserve energy, so you will not notice them until they fly up to eye level or on your arms.
If you are often barefoot or wearing flip flops, you will notice that your exposed feet and ankles are a common target for mosquito bites. For example, if you are dining at the outdoor patio of a restaurant while wearing sandals you will find your feet, ankles and calves covered in at least a dozen itchy, swollen bites by halfway through your meal. Wearing shoes and thick socks will prevent this – but it can be difficult to find thick socks in Thailand so make sure that you stock up on them when you are in a cold-weather country.
Mosquitos are a nuisance and a health risk in Bangkok, so make sure that you take them seriously and do your best to prevent bites whenever possible.