Protecting yourself from mosquito bites

Actions that have been shown to prevent mosquito bites include:1

  • Use of insect repellent with DEET (N,N diethylmetatoluamide) on your clothes and skin. The repellent is available in varying strengths up to 100%. In young children, use a preparation containing less than 24% strength, because the chemical can be absorbed through the skin.
  • Use of bed nets (mosquito netting) sprayed with or soaked in an insecticide such as permethrin or deltamethrin.
  • Wearing clothing treated with an insecticide such as permethrin.

Other things you can do that may help include the following:

  • Wear protective clothing (long pants and long-sleeved shirts).
  • Use plant-based insect repellents (such as neem oil) on exposed skin.
  • Use bath oils that coat the skin before bedtime. These oils may help prevent mosquito bites for a short time.
  • Use chemicals that repel or kill flying insects around sleeping areas. These products include sprays and mosquito coils or small machines that release chemicals into the air.

If you have a higher risk for malaria (for example, if you are pregnant, very young, very old, or have had your spleen removed), you should try to avoid areas where malaria and mosquitoes are present.

Citations

  1. Croft AM (2007). Malaria: Prevention in travellers, search date February 2007. Online version of BMJ Clinical Evidence. Available online: http://www.clinicalevidence.com.

Last Updated: May 8, 2009

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