Direct protection against mosquito bites is the best way to prevent disease. The following recommendations are the most effective way to protect yourself and your family:
Reduce mosquito populations around your home. You can read more about this on our "How you can help" page.
Avoid outdoor activities around dawn and dusk when mosquitos are most active
Wear loose-fitting, long-sleeved shirts and pants when outside
Wear a CDC-recommended and EPA registered insect repellant when outside
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends using insect repellants with one of the following ingredients. When used as directed, EPA-registered insect repellents are proven safe and effective, even for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
DEET is a well-known protection option that has been relied upon since the 1950s. It has extensive research to back its effectiveness. DEET products are available in different concentrations, with higher concentrations providing longer-lasting effects. DEET is accessible in various forms, including sprays and wipes, and proves highly advantageous for prolonged and strenuous activities. It is advisable for use in children aged 2 months and older.
Picaridin is a synthetic repellent that mimics piperine, a natural compound found in black pepper plants. Many people prefer its odorless and colorless formula that is less damaging to certain fabrics. It is an effective alternative to DEET and works well for casual outdoor activities. Picaridin is suitable for children aged 2 months and older.
IR3535 is a synthetic compound that was first approved in Europe over 20 years before it was approved in the United States in 1999. It comes in a variety of forms and is approved for use both during casual and prolonged outdoor activity. While this product is suitable for children 6 months and older, it is considered an eye irritant and all eye contact should be avoided.
Oil of eucalyptus is a natural, plant based alternative to the other repellents with the active ingredient being the oil from the leaves of the Eucalyptus tree. Products containing oil of eucalyptus have been found to be similar in effectiveness to low concentrations of DEET. It comes in a variety of products, but each have been noted to have a strong botanical scent. This product is suitable for children aged 3 years and up, and it is best known for use in light and short outdoor activities.
If you have any further questions concerning insect repellants, please visit the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) website directly.