Mosquitoes spread many types of viruses and parasites that can cause diseases like dengue, Zika, and malaria.
Symptoms of Zika virus
Signs and symptoms of Zika virus are vague and can last for up to a week. The virus is typically confirmed with a blood test.
Symptoms of Zika virus include:
- Joint pain
- Conjunctivitis (red eyes)
- Muscle pain
- Pain behind the eyes
According to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), only 1 in 4 people infected with Zika virus develop symptoms.
Protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites:
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
- Mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing. Treat clothes with EPA-registered insecticide for extra protection.
- Use only an EPA-registered insect repellent. Higher percentages of active ingredient provide longer protection. Use an insect repellent with one of these Active ingredients: DEET, Picaridin (also known as KBR 3023), Bayrepel, icaridin, Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), para-menthane-diol (PMD), or IR3535
- Always follow the product label instructions.
- Reapply insect repellent every few hours.
- Do not spray repellent on the skin under clothing.
- Using a sunscreen too? Apply that first, then repellent second.
In the U.S., the EPA has not evaluated most of the commonly known natural repellents for effectiveness. Examples include citronella oil, cedar oil, geranium oil, peppermint and peppermint oil, pure oil of lemon eucalyptus, soybean oil. The CDC recommends using an insect repellent containing an active ingredient shown both to be safe and effective.