You can, in addition, use personal insect repellent of which the best contain a high concentration of diethyl toluamide (DET). Liquid is best for arms and face; take care around eyes and make sure you do not dissolve the plastic of your spectacles. Aerosol spray on clothes and ankles deter mites and ticks. Liquid DIET suspended in water can be used to impregnate cotton clothes and mosquito nets. The latter are now available in wide mesh form which are lighter to carry and less claustrophobic to sleep under.

If you are bitten, itching may be relieved by cool baths and antihistamine tables (take care with alcohol or when driving), corticosteroid creams (use with great care and never use if any hint of septic poisoning) or by judicious scratching. Calamine lotion and cream have limited effectiveness and antihistamine creams have tendency to cause skin allergies and are therefore not generally recommended. 6' which become infected (a common problem in the tropics) should be treated with local antiseptic or antibiotic cream such as Cetrimide, as should infected scratches. Skin infestations with body lice, crabs and scabies are unfortunately easy to pick up. Use gamma benzene hexachloride for lice and benzyl benzoate for scabies. Crotamiton cream alleviates itching and also kills a number of skin parasites. Malathion lotion is good for lice but avoid the highly toxic full strength Malathion which is used, as an agricultural insecticide.

Bites & stings
If you are unlucky enough to be bitten by a venomous snake, spider, scorpion centipede or sea creature, try (within limits) to catch or kill the animal for identification. Reactions to be expected are shock, swelling, pain and bruising around the bite, soreness of the regional lymph glands, nausea, vomiting and fever. If in addition any of the following symptoms should follow closely, get the victim to a doctor with delay: numbness, tingling of the face, muscular spasms, convulsions, shortness breath or haemorrhage. Commercial snake-bite or scorpion-sting kits may be available but these are only useful against the specific type of snake or scorpion for which they are designed. The serum has to be given intravenously so is not much good unless you have had some practice in making injections into veins. lf the bite is on a limb, immobilize it and apply a tight bandage between the bite and the body releasing it for 90 secs every 15 mins. Reassurance of the victim is very import because death from snake bite is very rare. Do not slash the bite area and try to she out the poison because this sort of heroism does more harm than good. Hospitals usually hold stocks of snake-bite serum. The best precaution is not to walk in long grass with bare feet, sandals or in shorts.

When swimming in an area where there are poisonous fish such as stone scorpion fish (also called by a variety of local names) or sea urchins on rocky coasts tread carefully or wear plimsolls/trainers. The sting of such fish is intensely painful can be relieved by immersing the injured part of the body in water as hot as you c bear for as long as it remains painful. This is not always very practical and you must take care not to scald yourself, but it does work. Avoid spiders and scorpion by keeping your bed away from the wall, look under lavatory seats and inside your shoes in the morning. In the rare event of being bitten, consult a doctor.

Intestinal worms are common and the more serious ones, such as hookworm, can be contracted by walking barefoot on infested earth or beaches.

Influenza and respiratory diseases are common, perhaps made worse by polluted cities and rapid temperature and climatic changes -accentuated by air-conditioning.

Prickly heat is a very common itchy rash, best avoided by frequent washing and by wearing loose clothing. It can be helped by the use of talcum powder, allowing skin to dry thoroughly after washing.

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