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Prevent Mosquito Bites

Protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites

a human hand pointing to the instructions on a can of insect repellent

Use Insect Repellent

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.

A chart showing examples of insect repellents broken down by active ingredients and product brands that contain those ingredients.  The first active ingredient listed is DEET. Some examples of brand name products containing DEET are OFF, Cutter, Sawyer, and Ultrathon. The second active ingredient listed is Picaridin, also know as KBR 3023, Bayrepel, and icardin. Some examples of brand name products containing Picaridin are Cutter Advanced, Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus, and Autan, which is found outside the United States. The third active ingredient listed is Oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol. An example of a brand name product containing Oil of lemon eucalyptus is Repel. The fourth and final active ingredient listed is IR3535.  Some examples of brand name products containing IR3535 are Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus Expedition and SkinSmart.

*See EPA’s search tool here.

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.

Tips for Babies & Children

an adult male applying insect repellent to a child's face
  • Always follow instructions when applying insect repellent to children.
  • Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months old.
  • Do not apply insect repellent onto a child’s hands, eyes, mouth, and cut or irritated skin.
    • Adults: Spray insect repellent onto your hands and then apply to a child’s face.
  • Do not use products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or para-menthane-diol (PMD) on children under 3 years old.

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 like chikungunya, dengue, and Zika, 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.

a babies crib covered by a mosquito net

Protect your baby or child

  • Dress your child in clothing that covers arms and legs.
  • Cover crib, stroller, and baby carrier with mosquito netting.

a bottle of insect repellent shown spraying clothing

Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants

  • Treat items, such as boots, pants, socks, and tents, with permethrin* or buy permethrin-treated clothing and gear.
    • Permethrin-treated clothing will protect you after multiple washings. See 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.

*In some places, such as Puerto Rico, where permethrin products have been used for years in mosquito control efforts, mosquitoes have become resistant to it. In areas with high levels of resistance, use of permethrin is not likely to be effective.

a mosquito protected house

Take steps to control mosquitoes inside and outside your home

  • Use screens on windows and doors. Repair holes in screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
  • Use air conditioning when available.
    • Sleep under a mosquito bed net if air conditioned or screened rooms are not available or if sleeping outdoors.
  • 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 inside and outside your home. Mosquitoes lay eggs near water.
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