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:
- Picaridin (known as KBR 3023 and icaridin outside the US)
- Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or para-menthane-diol (PMD)
- 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.
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.
- Report any standing water, dead birds, or high grass and weeds to the City of Chicago by calling 311.
- Make an appointment with your healthcare provider prior to traveling to discuss destination-specific health risks and recommendations
- Learn more at the CDC Travelers' Health website.
- Pack a travel health kit. Remember to pack insect repellent to prevent mosquito bites!
- 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.