How to Avoid the Human Botfly

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It is possible to feel botfly larvae crawling underneath your skin. In addition to the movement, the botlfy larvae causes the body to create painful pustules, or raised areas of the skin that fill with fluid and secrete pus. The human botfly is indigenous to Central and South America and parts of Mexico, and will find its way to a human host by way of mosquito or tick. The parasitic human botfly lays its eggs in these insects, when these insects then attempt to prey on humans, the eggs react to the interaction and hatch. The botfly larvae will burrow under the skin for up to 12 weeks.

Things You'll Need

  • Repellent
  • Protective clothing
  • Bed net

Apply an insect repellent to all exposed skin. Make sure to rub the repellent on the neck, face and ears. The repellent must be effective against mosquitoes and ticks. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends DEET, Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or PMD, and IR3535 for deterring mosquitoes. Read the label to make sure the repellent also repels ticks. Don't apply repellent to skin that is underneath clothing, over cuts or wounds, and use sparingly around your ears.

Wear protective clothing. Appropriate clothing includes long-sleeve shirts, long pants, hats, boots or closed shoes. Make sure to wear socks and tuck your shirt into your pants.

Spray the repellent over your clothing and hat. The Centers for Disease Control states that the chemicals Permanone and Sawyer Permethrin are safe to use on clothing. There is also clothing pretreated with permethrin. Pretreated clothing will retain its resiliency after washing, but must be retreated eventually: refer to the clothing directions.

Inspect your skin for ticks and mosquito bites after you return to your room or home each day. You can't always feel a tick bite. For extra precaution, visually check your skin. Ask someone else to look over hard to see areas such as your scalp and back. If you find a tick, remove it from the skin. If you notice a mosquito bite, stay on the lookout for pustules on the skin which could indicate a botfly infection. If so, go directly to a physician for treatment.

Place a bed net around your sleeping area. This is necessary when staying in a place that is not screened-in, or air conditioned. Treat the bed net with repellent or Permethrin. Tuck the bed net under the mattress, if it doesn't reach the floor.

Tips & Warnings

  • Wash the insect repellent to the skin after returning indoors with soap and water. The CDC also recommends washing treated clothing before it is worn again.
  • Don't spray Pemethrin to the skin, only use it on fabrics.

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