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HomeHealthHow safe is it to use mosquito coils?

How safe is it to use mosquito coils?

It is a very well-known fact that mosquitoes kills more people than even sharks do every year. To be more specific, mosquitoes kills thousands every year all over the world and it is a very grave issue for all of us who live around these insects who are so dangerous. To avoid from mosquito it is common to use mosquito coils. They are cheap, easily available, and easy to use, burnt for about eight hours or more while we sleep and I guess many of us might experience throat pain, headache, and dizziness in morning. Beside these minor health problems, how safe is it to use mosquito coils to avoid from mosquito?

Mosquito coils are made mostly from a chemical named pyrethrum. It is a natural extract from the chrysanthemum flower. Common symptoms from exposure to pyrethrum can include headache, nausea, vomiting, skin or eye irritation and inflammation.

Formaldehyde is another chemical released by burning them. Inhaling it could cause watery eyes, throat discomfort, coughing, wheezing, nausea and skin irritation. Also, it can cause nasal or sinus cancer and even leukemia, experts say. The amount of formaldehyde released from burning one mosquito coil can be as high as smoking 51 cigarettes.

New Delhi Television Limited (NDTV) in India reported claims by researchers that a mosquito coil burning all-night in a closed room (about 8 hours) equals smoking about 100 cigarettes. 

The hospital-based study to determine lung cancer risks posed by mosquito coils claimed that the risk of lung cancer was significantly higher in the frequent use of mosquito coils. 

Some advice you can follow to limit the harmful effects of mosquito coils.

  • Mosquito coils must be lighted half an hour before bed time. It should be done, after closing doors and windows of the room and after switching off fans. 
  • Best to limit use of coils to outdoor or well ventilated indoor areas
  • Don’t sleep next to a burning mosquito coil
  • Sleeping under a mosquito net is the best non-chemical approach to overnight mosquito bite prevention.

In cigarette packing there is picture of cancer or written as a smoking is injurious to health. So, I think there should be also such a health warning that should be included in mosquito coils. However more studies should come out and support to implement such steps.


Dr. Sanjay Maharjan, MD
Dr. Sanjay Maharjan, MD
MD in Basic and Clinical Physiology


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