Mosquito borne diseases can cause serious illness. In Australia, arboviruses such as Ross River, Barmah Forest, dengue and Murray Valley Encephalitis and Kunjin/West Nile are known to cause human disease. The best way to prevent these diseases is by protecting yourself and your family from mosquito bites.
27 March 2017
How to avoid mosquito bites?
- cover up as much as possible (light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing and covered footwear)
- use mosquito repellents
- use mosquito netting for children’s cribs, prams and strollers
- prevent mosquito breeding around the home.
How to choose and use mosquito repellent?
Choosing a repellent
- repellents containing DEET or Picaridin are most effective
- repellents containing oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or Para Menthane Diol (PMD) also provide adequate protection
- higher concentrations provide longer protection
- natural repellents such as citronella and eucalyptus provide very limited protection from mosquitoes.
Using a repellent
- always follow the directions on the product label
- apply a thin layer evenly to the exposed skin
- duration of protection depends on concentration. Follow reapplication times suggested on the product label
- reapply repellent after intense exercise, hot weather and after swimming. Sunscreen should always be applied before repellents
- do not use repellent on infants aged 3 months or younger
- do not allow young children to apply their own repellent. Avoid application to hands, eyes and mouth.
How to control mosquitoes around home?
- prevent mosquito entry by using flyscreens on windows and doors. Screen chimneys, vents and other entrances
- consider using surface spray in cool shady areas in and around the home where mosquitoes rest during day
- clean up your backyard and remove all water-holding rubbish, including tires and containers where mosquitoes can breed
- keep lawns mowed
- keep gutters and drains clean so water runs freely
- store anything that can hold water undercover or in a dry place, and keep bins covered
- change pet drinking bowls, bird baths and vase waters at least once a week, and more regularly in very warm weather
- cover or securely screen the openings of septic tanks and rainwater tanks
- fill pot plant base with sand to avoid standing water
- keep swimming pools well maintained or empty or securely cover them if not in use.
How to control mosquitoes inside the home?
- maintain flyscreens on windows, doors, vents and chimneys
- consider use of over the counter insecticide sprays against visible mosquitoes in your home
- mosquito coils (used outdoors) and vaporising mats (used indoors) can help to repel mosquitoes from an area of interest.
How to avoid mosquitoes during travel or camping?
- reside or sleep in screened or air conditioned rooms
- use a bed net if you are sleeping outdoors or if the area is known for mosquitoes. Nets are most effective when they are treated with a pyrethroid insecticide, such as permethrin. Pre-treated bed nets can be purchased before travelling, or nets can be treated after purchase
- avoid known areas of high mosquito-borne disease transmission or outbreaks.