Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Information and Resources

Avoid Mosquito Bites and West Nile Virus

When dealing with West Nile virus, mosquito bite prevention is your best bet. Fighting mosquito bites reduces your risk of getting West Nile virus, along with other illnesses that mosquitoes can carry. Take the commonsense steps below to reduce your risk:

  • Avoid mosquito bites
  • Clean out mosquitoes from the places where you live, work, and play
  • Help your community control the disease

Something to remember: The chance that any one person is going to become ill from a single mosquito bite remains low. The risk of severe illness and death is highest for people over 50 years old, although people of all ages can become ill.

Recommended Related to

Manuka Honey

Manuka honey is produced in New Zealand by bees that pollinate the native manuka bush. Advocates say it treats wound infections and other conditions. WebMD takes a look at what the science says about using manuka honey as a medicine.

Read the Manuka Honey article > >

Avoid Mosquito Bites

Use Insect Repellent 
Apply insect repellent to exposed skin and clothing when you go outdoors. According to the CDC, insect repellents that contain DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide) or picaridin (KBR 3023) usually provide longer protection than insect repellents containing different active ingredients. Even a short time outdoors can be long enough to get a mosquito bite. 

Always follow the product label's instructions for use. Look for a graphic created by the Environmental Protection Agency that indicates how long the product will protect you from tick and mosquito bites. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that DEET should not be used in children younger than 2 months old.

Clothing Can Help Reduce Mosquito Bites
When possible, wear long sleeves, long pants, and socks when outdoors. Mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing, so spraying clothes with repellent will give extra protection. Don't apply repellents containing the ingredient permethrin directly to skin. Permethrin should only be used on clothes, shoes, bed netting, and camping gear. Do not spray repellent containing DEET on the skin under your clothing.

Be Aware of Peak Mosquito Hours
Dusk and dawn
are peak mosquito biting times for many species of mosquitoes. Take extra care to use repellent and protective clothing during evening and early morning -- or consider avoiding outdoor activities during these times.

Mosquito-Proof Your Home

Drain Standing Water
Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to breed by getting rid of items that hold water, such as empty trash cans or unused children's toys.

Install or Repair Screens
Some mosquitoes like to come indoors. Keep them outside by having well-fitting screens on both windows and doors.

Help Your Community Fight West Nile Virus

Report Dead Birds to Local Authorities
Dead birds may be a sign that West Nile virus is circulating between birds and the mosquitoes in an area. More than 130 species of birds are known to have been infected with West Nile virus, though not all infected birds will die. It's important to remember that birds die from many other causes besides West Nile virus.

WebMD Medical Reference

Hot Topics

WebMD Video: Now Playing

Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Popular Slideshows & Tools on WebMD

feet
Solutions for 19 types.
row of colored highlighter pens
Recognizing symptoms.
build a better butt
Check your BMI.
man with indigestion
How to build a better butt.
MS Overview
How to identify that bite.
stressed working woman
What to watch for.
brain scan with soda
Tips to kick the habit.
fat caliper
Tips for living better.
Woman running
And how to fix them?
lone star tick
Check your BMI.
young woman in sun
What Do Your Dreams Say About You?
Girl drinking orange juice
How to keep yours at bay.

Pollen counts, treatment tips, and more.

It's nothing to sneeze at.

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

Thanks!

Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

Women's Health Newsletter

Find out what women really need.