The best way to avoid mosquitoes is to stay indoors after dusk and to stay away from wet places where mosquitoes thrive. Of course, in the summer it's likely that you want to be outside, often at the peak mosquito hours.
Because West Nile virus will return every summer, it's essential that you do all that you can to prevent being bitten by a West Nile virus-infected mosquito as you enjoy your summer activities. When you are outside, choose a repellent that best fits your needs for that situation. Mosquito repellents are not all the same. Some brands have different ingredients than others. A repellent made for adults may not be the right choice for kids, or one repellent may only offer a half hour of protection while another gives five hours of protection.
When you are choosing a repellent, read the label and look for one that has been approved by the CDC and that is effective against culex mosquitoes, the ones that carry West Nile infection. Also, ask yourself the following questions so you know what is right for you:
The chart below lists the active ingredients available in repellents you can purchase at most drug stores, grocery stores, outdoor equipment stores, and online. Brand name is not as important as the active ingredient you choose, one that should be effective against culex mosquitoes.
|Active Ingredient||Protection Time|
|DEET 25%||up to 8 hours|
|DEET 23%||up to 8 hours|
|Picaridin 10%||6-8 hours|
|Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus||up to 6 hours|
|Picaridin 7%||up to 4 hours|
|Picaridin 5%||3 - 4 hours|
|Plant oils (soybean, lemongrass, cedar, citronella, etc)||10 mins – 2 hours|
|DEET 7%||Up to 2 hours|
|Citronella Oil||10 minutes|
Products containing DEET, oil of lemon eucalyptus, and picaridin and IR3535 are registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and have been shown to be effective against culex mosquitoes, the type that carry West Nile virus.
For more detailed information on repellents, visit the following websites: