Prevent Mosquito Bites
Protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites
Use Insect Repellent
Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellentsexternal icon 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 toolexternal icon.
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.external icon
Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants
Treat clothing and gear
- Use 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.
Take steps to control mosquitoes indoors and outdoors
- 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 indoors and outdoors.
Prevent mosquito bites when traveling overseas
- 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 does not have screens.
- Buy a bed net at your local outdoor store or online before traveling overseas.
- Choose a WHOPES-approved bed net: 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.
- Do not wash bed nets or expose them to sunlight. This will break down the insecticide more quickly.
- For more information on bed nets, visit CDC’s page on insecticide-treated bed nets.
- For more information on traveling overseas, visit Travelers’ Health.
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