Prevention of mosquito bites is another way of preventing Zika disease. The adult mosquitoes like to bite inside as well as around homes, during the day and at night when the lights are on. To protect yourself, use insect repellent on your skin while indoors or out, mosquito traps or mosquito nets. When used properly, repellents are safe for kids and adults alike. Keep in mind that even though some of them are classified as pesticides by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), repellents don't kill mosquitoes. So you may still see these annoying insects buzzing about. Repellents simply make it more difficult for mosquitoes to find you.
Common insect repellents include:
|DEET (N,N-diethylmetatoluamide) blocks a mosquito's ability to find people who've applied it. Apply repellent with a 10% to 30% concentration of DEET to your skin and clothing. Choose the concentration based on the hours of protection you need — the higher the concentration of DEET, the longer you are protected. A 10% concentration protects you for about two hours. Keep in mind that chemical repellents can be toxic, and use only the amount needed for the time you'll be outdoors. Don't use DEET on the hands of young children or on infants younger than age 2 months.|
|Picaridin. This repellant, also called KBR 3023, offers protection that's comparable to DEET at similar concentrations. It also blocks a mosquito's ability to find people who've applied it. Picaridin is nearly odorless, which may make it a good alternative if you're sensitive to the smells of insect repellents.|
|Oil of lemon eucalyptus. This plant-based chemical may offer protection that's comparable to low concentrations of DEET. Don't use this product on children younger than 3 years.|
|Others. Shorter acting repellents that may offer limited protection generally contain plant-based oils such as oil of geranium, cedar, lemon grass, soy or citronella.|
When possible, wear also long sleeves and pants for additional protection. Also, make sure window and door screens are secure and without holes. If available, use air-conditioning (see also prevention for travelers.
Clothing tips to keep in mind include:
- Wear long-sleeved shirts;
- Wear socks;
- Wear long pants and consider tucking your pants into your socks;
- Wear light-colored clothing, since mosquitoes are more attracted to darker colors;
- Apply mosquito repellent to your clothing, shoes, and camping gear and bed netting;
- Wear a full-brimmed hat to protect your head and neck;
- Consider wearing a mosquito net to cover your head and face or torso