With Zika Threat Looming, Americans Don't Know How to Prevent Mosquito Bites
"People know they should avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes," said
The survey included 1,176 interviews of Americans aged 18 years or older using an online opt-in panel. It found many misconceptions about mosquito repellents and active ingredients. For example, 67% of respondents identified citronella as a very or somewhat effective active ingredient for repelling insects. However, citronella is not one of the active ingredients that the CDC recommends as effective. DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus and IR3535 are the only recommended active ingredients, but only 12% of those surveyed correctly indicated that all four were effective. Conversely, 73% of respondents identified at least one ingredient not recommended by the CDC for use as repellents as effective for that purpose.
Most people are aware that the best defense against contracting Zika is to not get bitten by a mosquito carrying the virus. At least 93% of surveyed Americans are planning some outdoor activities this summer, and 65% are certain or almost certain a mosquito will bite them compared to only 34% reporting they expect to get a sunburn. Juxtapose that with the fact that 60% of Americans frequently use sunscreen and only 40% frequently apply mosquito repellent, the most effective way to prevent mosquito bites when spending time outdoors, and it is clear that people are not taking the steps needed to prevent mosquito bites. This might be due, in part, to the fact that healthcare providers are not discussing mosquito repellent with their patients nearly as often as they mention sunscreen (23% vs. 48%, respectively).
Tips for Protecting Yourself from Mosquito-borne Illnesses
Choosing a personal mosquito repellent based on the length of time you'll be outside and type of activity you're planning can help reduce the risk of mosquito bites. Cutter® Skinsations® Insect Repellent Pump contains 7-percent DEET and can protect the entire family. For longer-lasting mosquito protection in rugged conditions, Repel® 100 Insect Repellent Pump Spray works up to 10 hours.
Additional mosquito-bite prevention tips include:
- Using an
EPA-registered personal insect repellent when you're outside; experts recommend products containing DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus
- Wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants
- Reducing mosquito breeding ground around your home by eliminating standing water in places like flower pots, bird baths and gutters
- Inspecting the screens on your windows and repairing them if needed
- Preventing mosquitoes from entering your home by spraying Hot Shot® Flying Insect Killer3 around doors and windows
- Taking additional precautions when traveling to affected regions: Staying and sleeping in air-conditioned or screened rooms, or using bed netting if exposed to the outdoors
For additional information on protecting yourself and your family from mosquito bites that may transmit the Zika virus, go to cutterinsectrepellent.com/zikainfo or repel.com/zikainfo. Information about the Zika virus is available from the
1 The survey was conducted in
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