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Mosquitoes Are the World's Deadliest Animal - How to Protect Your Family

According to the CDC, the mosquito is the world’s deadliest animal. Don't let this tiny little blood sucker fool you... mosquitoes spread diseases like malaria, dengue, West Nile, yellow fever, Zika, chikungunya, and lymphatic filariasis, killing more people than any other creature in the world!!

In fairness, it is not actually the mosquito that kills you, but rather the pathogens that enter your body when the mosquito feeds. Every year about 830,000 people die due to mosquito-borne illnesses like malaria.

Mosquitoes bite day and night. They spread germs through biting. But here are some ways you can prevent illness by protecting yourself and your family from mosquito bites:

Use EPA-registered insect repellents with one of the following active ingredients. When used as directed, EPA-registered insect repellents are proven safe and effective, even for pregnant and breastfeeding women:

  • DEET

  • Picaridin (known as KBR 3023 and icaridin outside the United States)

  • IR3535

  • Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE)—A plant-derived ingredient

  • Para-menthane-diol (PMD)

  • 2-undecanone—A plant-derived ingredient

Tips for babies and children

  • Dress your child in clothing that covers arms and legs.

  • Cover strollers and baby carriers with mosquito netting.

When using insect repellent on your child:

  • Always follow label instructions.

  • Do not use products containing OLE or PMD on children under 3 years old.

  • Do not apply repellent to a child's hands, eyes, mouth, cuts, or irritated skin.

  • Adults: Apply repellent onto your hands and then apply to a child's face.

Tips for everyone

  • Always follow the product label instructions.

  • Reapply repellent as directed.

  • Do not apply repellent on the skin under clothing.

  • If you are using sunscreen, apply sunscreen first and insect repellent second

Wear Protective Clothing

When you know you're going to be outside, plan to wear loose-fitting, long-sleeved shirts and pants.

  • Wear clothing and gear treated with permethrin.

  • Permethrin is an insecticide that kills or repels mosquitoes.

  • Permethrin-treated clothing provides protection after multiple washings.

  • Do not use permethrin products directly on skin.

Control mosquitoes indoors and outdoors

  • Use screens on windows and doors. Repair holes in screens to keep mosquitoes outdoors.

  • Use air conditioning, if available.

  • Stop mosquitoes from laying eggs in or near water.

  • Check for water-holding containers both indoors and outdoors.

  • Once a week, empty and scrub, turn over, cover, or throw out items that hold water, such as tires, buckets, toys, pools, birdbaths, flowerpot saucers, or trash containers.

To find the repellent that will work best for you, visit the EPA's search tool here:

Use the search tool below to help you choose the repellent product that is right for you. You can specify:

  • mosquitoes, ticks or both;

  • protection time;

  • active ingredient; or

  • other product-specific information.

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