FAQ: How Do I Avoid Mosquito Bites?
» Why are mosquito bites
Mosquitoes are an important vector in the transmission
of diseases such as Malaria, West Nile Virus, Yellow Fever, and
Dengue Fever. Getting these diseases from a mosquito bite will
depend on the geographic prevalence of the disease and the species
of mosquitoes in that area. During a mosquito bite, mosquito saliva
is injected into the bite as a local anesthetic and anti-coagulant.
The female mosquito then proceeds to feed on the host blood. This
exchange of mosquito saliva and blood is an excellent opportunity
for pathogens to spread from mosquitoes to humans, and from humans
to humans using mosquitoes as an intermediate.
» What is the proper use
of insect repellent?
- Apply insect repellent containing DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide)
to exposed skin whenever you are outdoors. The more DEET a repellent
contains the longer time it can protect you from mosquito bites.
- A higher percentage of DEET in a repellent does
not mean that your protection is better—just that it will
last longer. DEET concentrations higher than 50% do not increase
the length of protection.
- Repellents may irritate the eyes and mouth, so
avoid applying repellent to the hands of children.
- Whenever you use an insecticide or insect repellent,
be sure to read and follow the manufacturer's DIRECTIONS FOR
USE, as printed on the product.
- Do not apply repellents containing permethrin directly
to skin. Spray on clothing.
- Do not spray repellent containing DEET on the skin
under your clothing. This is ineffective.
» What clothing is
- When possible, wear long-sleeves, long pants and
socks when outdoors.
- Treating clothes with repellents containing permethrin
or DEET will give extra protection, since mosquitoes may bite
through thin clothing.
- Place mosquito netting over infant carriers when
you are outdoors with infants.
- Avoid wearing dark coloured clothing, as this attracts
- Avoid wearing perfume, as this attracts mosquitoes
» What are peak biting
The hours from sunset to sunrise are peak mosquito
biting times. Consider avoiding outdoor activities during these
times -- or take extra care to use repellent and protective clothing
during evening and early morning.
» What can I do around
- Install or repair window and door screens so that
mosquitoes cannot get indoors.
- If necessary, use mosquito netting, and check for
holes in the net.
- Help reduce the number of mosquitoes in areas outdoors
where you work or play, by draining sources of standing water.
In this way, you reduce the number of places mosquitoes can
lay their eggs and breed.
- At least once or twice a week, empty water from
flower pots, pet food and water dishes, birdbaths, swimming
pool covers, buckets, barrels, and cans.
- Check for clogged rain gutters and clean them out.
- Remove discarded tires, and other items that could
- Be sure to check for containers or trash in places
that may be hard to see, such as under bushes or under your
» What does not work?
Vitamin B, garlic, thiamine, and "ultrasonic" devices
are NOT effective in preventing mosquito bites.
This website has been made possible through an unrestricted educational grant from
Pfizer Canada Inc.