Experts are today warning of the negative implications that can come from using insect repellents that do not contain at least 20% DEET, and are fearful that young travellers are not fully aware of the potential diseases rife in popular travel destinations.
A new survey has found that 78% of people do not research current diseases that they are at risk of catching in areas they are travelling to. Further results from the study show that 93% are opposed to using insect repellent with a concentration of at least 20%.
Many diseases that young travellers are prone to catching from biting insects are fast spreading  around the world to unexpected areas like western world. However, only 21% have heard of West Nile Fever, and 7% are aware of Chikungunya, a disease recently picked up by Lindsey Lohan in Bora Bora, which was introduced into the Caribbean and Southern states of the USA in late 2013 and there has been 4,462 confirmed cases in the US and 24,600 cases in the Caribbean since then.
Aside from malaria, it appears that many Brits are uneducated on many other diseases they are at risk of catching. Over half (54%) have not heard of Dengue Fever, despite estimates from WHO (World Health Organisation) saying there may be 50–100 million dengue infections worldwide every year.
Alistair Cameron from Pyramid Travel Products explains why prevention over cure is extremely important for travellers:
“The best way to prevent these nasty diseases are to avoid getting bitten in the first place. At best these diseases will cause a severe fever leaving you unable to enjoy your holiday, at worst they can kill. It is essential that if you are travelling to South East Asia, South America or Sub Saharan Africa you use a DEET repellent of at least 20% strength and at night sleep under a good, treated mosquito net. Together these should keep you safe.”
A third (33%) believes its unavoidable being bitten by insects when travelling to places like South East Asia, South America, and Australasia. Two thirds are also not aware that insect repellents contain DEET, emphasising the lack of knowledge that travellers have in this area and potentially putting themselves at risk. Surprisingly though, 39% of respondents were aware of the ingredient Citronella however this has been banned for use as a repellent since 2008.
Alistair went on to say “Several years ago, the EU adopted strict new rules to ensure the safety of insect repellents, and in particular to ensure that pregnant women, children and other vulnerable groups could rely on insect repellents to not only be effective, but also to be proven as safe to use. The industry has invested millions of Euros in safety testing on DEET, Icaridin and Eucalyptus Oil repellents to provide consumers with the assurances that they need. The manufacturers of Citronella could not provide this safety testing, so serious questions must be asked of retailers still stocking these products alongside legitimate products.”