The first step in controlling mosquitoes is to dump standing water where they breed. Then try these tips:
- Use screens on windows and doors. Close off any small gaps or openings around screen doors or window screens.
- Stay indoors when mosquitoes are out and biting -- usually between dusk and dawn.
- Wear light, loose-fitting clothing
These products may also help:
- Bush sprays and foggers may provide protection for about an hour.
- Mosquito coils are inexpensive, use insecticide in tiny quantities, and work well over a very limited area if there is no wind.
- Mosquito lamps heat a strip of insecticide-treated material.
Applying a mosquito repellent to your skin and clothes won’t kill mosquitoes, but it will make it more difficult for them to find you. According to the CDC, the products that provide reasonably long-lasting protection for adults include:
- Oil of lemon eucalyptus, a plant-based repellent, or PMD, its synthesized version
If you do get bitten, don't scratch. Doctors often recommend hydrocortisone cream (0.5 or 1 percent) or calamine lotion to reduce the itch.
Golden says cold compresses, ice packs, astringents, cold baths, or oatmeal baths work, too.
For stronger reactions, oral antihistamines help itching but not swelling.
Using Bug Spray Safely
To use insect repellents safely, follow these 10 tips:
- Always follow the directions on the product.
- Use bug spray when you are going outside. Apply it sparingly, but be sure to cover all exposed skin. Do not spray under clothing.
- Do not spray aerosol or pump products in enclosed areas.
- Do not spray directly on your face. Spray your hands and then rub them carefully over your face, avoiding your eyes and mouth. Use sparingly around the ears.
- Avoid applying products with more than 50% DEET.
- Minimize use of insect repellents if you are pregnant and nursing.
- Never use repellents on wounds or irritated skin.
- Wash skin after coming indoors.
- If you think you have an allergic reaction to insect repellent, wash your skin and call your doctor.
- If bug spray gets into your eyes, flush them with cold water immediately.
Follow these additional tips when using insect repellents on children:
- Apply it to your hands and rub it on your child, instead of spraying.
- Don't apply repellents to parts of children's hands that are likely to have contact with eyes or mouth.
- Do not apply products with DEET to children more than once a day.
- Do not use combined repellent-sunscreen products.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines, products containing up to 30% DEET can be used on children two months of age and older. Picaridin can also be used on children as young as 2 months, but oil of lemon-eucalyptus cannot be used on children under 3 years old.