Avoid bug bites
Bugs, including mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, and some flies, can spread diseases such as malaria, yellow fever, Zika, dengue, chikungunya, and Lyme, all of which have risk of severe and lasting consequences. Several diseases spread by bug bites cannot be prevented or treated with vaccines or medicine, such as Zika, dengue, and Lyme. Reduce your risk of getting these diseases by taking steps to prevent bug bites.
Check Your Destination for Health Risks
Find out what shots, medicines, or advice can help you to prevent bug-bite diseases where you are going.
Prevent Bug Bites During Your Trip
Use Insect Repellent
- Use EPA-registered insect repellents with one of the following active ingredients: DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), para-menthane-diol (PMD), or 2-undecanone. Find an EPA-registered insect repellent that’s right for you.
- The effectiveness of insect repellents not registered with the EPA, including some natural repellents, is not known.
How to Apply Insect Repellent: Always follow the product label instructions.
- Reapply as directed.
- If you are also using sunscreen, apply sunscreen first, and insect repellent second.
- Do not spray repellent on the skin under clothing.
Application Instructions for 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 oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or para-menthane-diol (PMD) on children under 3 years old.
- Do not apply insect repellent to a child’s hands, eyes, mouth, cuts, or irritated skin.
- Adults: spray insect repellent onto your hands and then apply to a child's face.
Permethrin: Treat clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents) with 0.5% permethrin (an insecticide). You can buy pre-treated clothes or treat your own clothes. If treating items yourself, follow instructions carefully. Do NOT use permethrin directly on skin.
Cover Exposed Skin: Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants. Some bugs, such as tsetse flies, can bite through thin fabric.
Avoid Bugs Where You Are Staying: Choose hotel rooms or other accommodations that are air-conditioned or have window and door screens with no holes, so bugs can’t get inside. If bugs can get into where you are sleeping, sleep under a permethrin-treated bed net that can be tucked under the mattress.
Other Bugs to Consider at Your Destination