Stacked neatly inside INAM‘s shelves along with all the other herbal medicine, were bars of soap called Mosbar. I have to admit I’ve never heard of this mosquito repellent before but nevertheless I purchased a bar to see if it would be a good alternative.

Dengue cases have surged in the past year, and what used to be a disease that was associated with the rainy season has now become an all-year-round public threat, according to the DOH. And quite recently the World Health Organization (WHO) even warned that climate change will increase the risk of dengue.

When all means of preventing mosquitoes from finding their way inside the house have failed, we usually resort to applying insect repellent lotion. I would often joke that the lotion’s stench, er, scent could repel not only biting insects but people as well. This type of repellent is quite thick, with the scent sticking to your skin for a few hours too. To wash the scent and stickiness (and the taste – blech ) off my hands, I discovered using dish washing liquid to be more effective than regular hand soap. I prepare our meals at home and wouldn’t want any of its residue getting into our food.

I’ve only used Mosbar once, and it’s a bit like Caladryl when it dries though not as thick and barely visible. Unlike organic soaps that use natural bug-repellent plants like citronella or cedarwood, Mosbar uses Deet, a chemical used in insect repellent products. The Environment Protection Agency (EPA), has given this chemical clearance as safe to use but still with all the necessary precautions. A recent Google search has also led me to a few more information about Mosbar. Apparently, it is being used, recommended even, in countries that have recorded high incidence rates of malaria. Its efficacy has been tested — and proven — in significantly reducing malaria cases in Afghanistan. Some travel guides also recommend using this soap when going to countries in Africa where malaria cases are also rampant.

At P35 per bar it is more economical than the commercially available insect repellent lotion that costs around P54 for a 50ml container. Our acupuncturist at INAM shares that she uses Mosbar as an insect spray by simply dissolving some of the soap in water, using a regular vegetable/cheese grater, before pouring it into a spray container. It is also quite odorless.

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Lastly, a photo of the dreaded Aedes aegypti, dengue-carrying mosquito:

from Wikipedia