Repellents, clothing, netting and other personal protection measures can help prevent mosquito bites and the diseases they carry.
Insect repellents are effective and safe when properly used. Use the information below to select the repellent that best fits your exposure to mosquitoes.
DEET (N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide) is a reliable and highly effective insect repellent. The chemical has been in public use since 1957.
The repellent is sold under numerous brand names and comes in lotion, spray and many other forms.
Concentrations of DEET range from about 5% all the way up to 100%. Generally, products with higher concentrations repel insects longer. However, products with concentrations higher than about 50% do not offer significantly greater protection. For example, 50% DEET provides about 4 hours of protection against mosquitoes, but increasing the concentration to 100% gives only about one extra hour of protection.
DEET must be used with proper precautions. The safe application of DEET is explained further below.
Picaridin, also known as KBR 3023, is an effective alternative to DEET products which provides long-lasting protection against mosquito bites. This repellent has been used worldwide since 1998. Compared to DEET, Picaridin is nearly odorless, does not cause skin irritation, and has no adverse effect on plastics.
Products with DEET and picaridin can be expected to provide better and longer-lasting protection than plant-based repellents.
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