Prevent Mosquito Bites
Protect Yourself and Your Family from Mosquito Bites
Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents with one of the active ingredients below. When used as directed, EPA-registered insect repellents are proven safe and effective, even for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
- Picaridin (known as KBR 3023 and icaridin outside the US)
- Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE)
- Para-menthane-diol (PMD)
Find the right insect repellent for you by using EPA’s search tool.
Tips for babies and children
- Dress your child in clothing that covers arms and legs.
- Cover strollers and baby carriers with mosquito netting.
- When using insect repellent on your child:
- Always follow label instructions.
- Do not use products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or para-menthane-diol (PMD) on children under 3 years old.
- Do not apply insect repellent to a child’s hands, eyes, mouth, cuts, or irritated skin.
- Adults: Spray insect repellent onto your hands and then apply to a child’s face.
Tips for everyone
- 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.
Natural insect repellents (repellents not registered with EPA)
- We do not know the effectiveness of non-EPA registered insect repellents, including some natural repellents.
- To protect yourself against diseases spread by mosquitoes, CDC and EPA recommend using an EPA-registered insect repellent.
- Choosing an EPA-registered repellent ensures the EPA has evaluated the product for effectiveness.
- Visit the EPA website to learn more.
Treat clothing and gear
- Use 0.5% permethrin to treat clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents) or buy permethrin-treated clothing and gear.
- Permethrin is an insecticide that kills or repels mosquitoes.
- Permethrin-treated clothing provides protection after multiple washings.
- Read product information to find out how long the protection will last.
- If treating items yourself, follow the product instructions.
- Do not use permethrin products directly on skin.
- Watch the video, What You Need to Know About Permethrin.
- Use screens on windows and doors. Repair holes in screens to keep mosquitoes outdoors.
- Use air conditioning, if available.
- Stop mosquitoes from laying eggs in or near water.
- Once a week, empty and scrub, turn over, cover, or throw out items that hold water, such as tires, buckets, planters, toys, pools, birdbaths, flowerpots, or trash containers.
- Check for water-holding containers both indoors and outdoors.
Remember to pack the following items
- EPA-registered insect repellentsexternalexternal
- Long-sleeved shirts and long pants. Mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing.
- Clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, tents) treated with 0.5% permethrin. You can treat your own items or purchase permethrin-treated clothing and gear.
- Mosquito net if you will be sleeping outside or when screened rooms are not available.
Keep mosquitoes out of your hotel room or lodging
- Choose a hotel or lodging with air conditioning or window and door screens.
- Use a mosquito net if you are unable to stay in a place with air conditioning or window and door screens or if you are sleeping outside.
Sleep under a mosquito net if you are outside or when screened rooms are not available. Mosquitoes can live indoors and bite during the day and night.
- Buy a mosquito net at your local outdoor store or online before traveling overseas.
- Choose a mosquito net that is compact, white, rectangular, with 156 holes per square inch, and long enough to tuck under the mattress.
- Permethrin-treated mosquito nets provide more protection than untreated nets.
- Permethrin is an insecticide that kills mosquitoes and other insects.
- To determine if you can wash a treated mosquito net, follow the label instructions.
Use mosquito nets correctly
Mosquito nets can be hung above a bed or crib to protect against mosquito bites. Adults and children should sleep under a mosquito net if air conditioned and screened rooms are not available.
When using a mosquito net:
- Tuck the net under the mattress to keep the mosquitoes out.
- Tuck netting under the crib mattress or select a mosquito net long enough to touch the floor.
- Pull the net tightly to avoid choking hazards for young children. Check label instructions for additional information.
- Hook or tie the sides of the net to other objects if they are sagging in towards the sleeping area.
- Check for holes or tears in the net where mosquitoes can enter.
- DO NOT hang the net near any candles, cigarettes, or open fires, as it can catch on fire.
- DO NOT sleep directly against the net, as mosquitoes can still bite through holes in the net.