As fears that the mosquito-born Zika virus continue to spread, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has several rules to cut the chance of mosquito bites:
Mosquito Bite Prevention for Travelers
Mosquitoes spread many types of viruses and parasites that can cause diseases like chikungunya, dengue, Zika, and malaria. If you are traveling to an area where malaria is found, talk to your healthcare provider about malaria prevention medication that may be available. Protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites. Here’s how:
Keep mosquitoes out of your hotel room or lodging
- Choose a hotel or lodging with air conditioning or screens on windows and doors.
- Sleep under a mosquito bed net if you are outside or in a room that is not well screened. Mosquitoes can live indoors and will bite at any time, day or night.
- Buy a bed net at your local outdoor store or online before traveling overseas.
- Choose a WHOPES-approved bed net (like Pramax*): compact, white, rectangular, with 156 holes per square inch, and long enough to tuck under the mattress.
- Permethrin-treated bed nets provide more protection than untreated nets.
- Permethrin is an insecticide that kills mosquitoes and other insects.
- Do not wash bed nets or expose them to sunlight. This will break down the insecticide more quickly.
In terms of clothing
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
- Mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing. Treat clothes with permethrin or
another Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insecticide for extra protection.
For insect repellents:
Use only an EPA-registered insect repellent
- When used as directed, EPA-registered insect repellents are proven safe and effective, even for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
- Consider bringing insect repellent with you.
- Always follow the product label instructions.
- Reapply insect repellent as directed.
- Do not spray repellent on the skin under clothing.
- If you are also using sunscreen, apply sunscreen first and insect repellent second.
- The effectiveness of non-EPA registered insect repellents, including some natural repellents, is not known.
- To protect yourself against diseases like chikungunya, dengue, and Zika, CDC and EPA recommend using an EPA-registered insect repellent.
Among those recommended are Off!, Cutter, Sawyer, Ultrathon and Repel. Containers of Off! are available at Amazon for between $5 and $17.