Smoking is bad. However, long-term exposure to mosquito coils is worse. Studies suggest that using mosquito coils in an enclosed space can increase indoor pollutant levels and it may also trigger Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) over the long term.
Burning coils to keep mosquitoes away is popular all across the world. According to a report published by the University of Sydney, traditional coils and sticks were made from a pyrethrum paste, modern mosquito coils mostly contain either pyrethroid insecticides or plant-derived substances such as citronella.
How do mosquito coils work?
Mosquito coils are cheap, portable and usually effective at reducing mosquito bites. These coils contain a mix of substances that deter mosquitoes from biting.
These coils usually work in two ways: Some contain insecticides that will kill mosquitoes and there are those that contain aromatic substances (such as citronella) that will repel mosquitoes or reduce the likelihood they will bite.
There are several studies focusing on mosquito coils and their role in killing or repelling mosquitoes. However, there is still a lot of debate about whether these coils are effective in preventing mosquito-borne diseases.
A review of 15 previously published studies showed there’s no evidence burning insecticide-containing mosquito coils prevented malaria, the Sydney University study revealed.
Similarly, there are numerous studies that point out that there is no strong evidence that routine burning of mosquito coils prevented dengue risk.
How can mosquito coils harm you?
According to reports, there is now a growing concern about the adverse health impacts that are often linked to the burning of mosquito coils and sticks indoors. According to a 2019 study published in the journal SN Applied Sciences, burning mosquito coils may lead to illnesses related to respiratory and cardiovascular issues, even potential carcinogenicity.
Doctors often warn that a person inhaling one mosquito repellent coil or sticks is equal to smoking 100 cigarettes.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), household pollution is responsible for 4.3 million deaths annually in the world. According to a report by Indian Express, daily burning of mosquito coils especially in a closed room while sleeping at night can cause breathing difficulties and disturbed sleep.
It can also lead to issues like burning of the eyes, redness and irritation, trigger one’s asthma and cause nausea and vomiting. In certain instances, it can lead to coughing bouts, wheezing, constant sneezing and sore throat. Moreover, long-term exposure to mosquito coil smoke can also lead to suffocation.
Some studies have also pointed out that if these gases get dissolved in the blood, there are chances of carbon monoxide poisoning which can be fatal.
Are there any alternatives to mosquito coils?
- Wear full-sleeved cotton clothes to avoid mosquito bites
- Keep the window closed or attach a bug screen during the evening
- Avoid stagnant water near the house which can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes
- Do fogging from time to time to avoid mosquito breeding
- Use mosquito nets