The best way to protect yourselves and your family from the Zika virus is to prevent mosquito bites. The Aedes Aegypti mosquito’s natural habitat is here in Florida and in those states around the Gulf of Mexico. These mosquitoes are small day biters who need our blood to spawn healthy offspring. The best way to ensure that mosquitoes will keep their distance from you and your loved ones is to wear long sleeve shirts, pants and socks, and also use repellents.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approves, the use of four mosquito repellents: DEET, Picaridin, Oil of Eucalyptus, and IR 3535. Of these, the American Association of Pediatrics has found that DEET in a 10-30% concentration, and Picaridin in a 5-10% concentration, are safe to use on children. DEET in concentrations up to 30%, Picaridin up to 10%, and IR 3535 up to 20%, are safe for pregnant women and nursing mothers. The higher the concentration, the longer the product is effective. The CDC recommends using the lowest, but effective, concentration and reapply as needed.
1. Apply repellents on exposed skin only.
2. Never apply repellent over open cuts, wounds, or irritated skin.
3. Repellents are not safe for babies under two months of age.
4. Mosquito netting is available for strollers, cribs, and portable cribs.
5. Never let a child apply repellents; put repellent in your hands and apply to child.
6. Do not apply repellents to hands, eye areas, or mouths of children.
7. Apply sunscreen before repellents. Combination sunscreen/repellents are not recommended because sunscreen must be reapplied more often than repellents.