Mosquito-Borne Diseases

Fight the Bite - Mosquitoes Spread Diseases - Protect Yourself

Mosquitoes are more than a nuisance! They spread diseases that can make you sick,
including but not limited to West Nile, Zika, Dengue, and Chikungunya.

However, there are several things you can do to protect yourself from these diseases!

What can I do to protect myself from diseases spread by mosquitoes?

The most effective way to avoid diseases spread by mosquitoes – prevent mosquito bites!

How do I prevent mosquito bites?

Wear repellent regularly to prevent bites and illness spread by mosquitoes.

  • Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents with one of the active ingredients below:
    • DEET
    • Picaridin (known as KBR 3023 and icaridin outside the US)
    • IR3535
    • Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or para-menthane-diol (PMD)
    • 2-undecanone
  • Always follow instructions on the label and reapply as directed!
  • If you are using insect repellent and sunscreen, apply sunscreen first and insect repellent second.
  • Insect repellent is safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
  • Do not spray repellent:
    • Near eyes, nose, or mouth
    • On cuts
    • Irritated skin
  • Special tips for kids:
    • Do not use insect repellent on anyone less than 2 months old.
    • Do not use products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or para-menthane-diol (PMD) on children under 3 years old.
    • Do not spray repellent on children's hands, eyes, mouth, or cut or irritated skin.
    • When applying insect repellent to a child, make sure to spray onto your hands and then apply to a child’s face.

Drain Water

Remove standing water around your home to prevent mosquitoes from breeding.

  • Once a week, empty and scrub, turn over, cover, or throw out items that hold water, such as:
    • Outside pet dishes, garbage cans, buckets, toys, flower pots, wading pools, pool covers, birdbaths, etc.
  • Discard unused tires and unused containers.
  • Clean gutters.
  • Drill holes in the bottoms of recycling and trash bins.
  • Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas, and hot tubs. If not in use, drain water out and cover tightly to avoid water pooling at the bottom.
  • Around your home, keep grass trimmed and remove any weeds. Mosquitoes like to hide in tall grass and weeds.

Install and Repair Screen Doors & Windows To Keep Mosquitoes Out of Your Home

  • Use screens on windows and doors. Repair any holes in your screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
  • Use air conditioning when available.
  • If air conditioning or screened rooms aren’t available, sleep under a mosquito bed net.

Cover Up With Long Sleeves and Pants To Prevent Mosquito Bites

  • Wear long sleeves, long pants and socks.
  • Mosquitoes are attracted to dark colors. Light-colored clothing is best.
  • Treat items, such as boots, pants, socks, and tents, with permethrin or buy permethrin-treated clothing and gear.
  • Special Tips for Kids!
    • Cover crib, stroller, and baby carrier with mosquito netting.

Call 311

  • Report any standing water, dead birds, or high grass and weeds to the City of Chicago by calling 311.

Pre-Travel Planning

  • Make an appointment with your healthcare provider prior to traveling to discuss destination-specific health risks and recommendations
  • Pack a travel health kit. Remember to pack insect repellent to prevent mosquito bites!

Post-Travel Prevention

  • Some travel-related illnesses may not cause symptoms until after you get home.
    • Even if you do not feel sick, use the information above to prevent mosquito bites for 3 weeks after your trip to prevent the spread of diseases to uninfected mosquitoes back home.
    • If you are not feeling well after your trip, see your doctor. Be sure to tell your doctor about where you went and what you did on your trip.