Summer travel may take you to areas where mosquitos are carriers of disease-inducing viruses including Zika, Dengue, or Chikungunya. To minimize the risk of mosquito bites, it’s important to choose an insect repellent that works well and that you are comfortable with. Use an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellent with one of the following active ingredients. When used as directed, EPA-registered insect repellents are proven safe and effective, even for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
- DEET: Some brand names: Off!, Cutter, Sawyer, Ultrathon
- Picaridin, also known as KBR 3023, Bayrepel, and icaridin : Some brand names: Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus,
- Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or para-menthane-diol (PMD): Brand: Repel
- IR3535 : Some brand names: Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus Expedition, SkinSmart
Additional protective measures include:
- Covering up: Wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
- Keep mosquitoes outside: Stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens. If you are not able to protect yourself from mosquitoes inside your home or hotel, sleep under a mosquito bed net.
- If you’re bitten, try to avoid scratching. For itch relief, apply hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion to the bite several times daily. Ice or cold pack applications may be helpful as well as oral antihistamines such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl and Cetirizine (Zyrtec). If mosquito bites are associated with more serious warning signs including fever, headache and body aches, contact your doctor.