Choosing a Mosquito Repellent

Mosquitoes are more than an annoyance; the tiny insects are actually dangerous. Mosquitoes are responsible for the transmission of a number of diseases including malaria, dengue, West Nile, Zika and encephalitis. Mosquito repellents help protect against bites and disease spread.

There are an estimated 3000 species of mosquitoes and approximately 85 species have been identified in Texas. Male mosquitoes feed on nectar and plant juices, while female mosquitoes require blood protein to produce eggs. After puncturing the skin, the female mosquito injects a small amount of saliva into the wound to prevent the blood from clotting as she draws it. The itching and red bumps triggered by bites are due to the saliva.

To reduce the risk of mosquito bites, experts recommend keeping areas free of food, water and shelter for the insects. This includes draining standing water where mosquitoes breed, using mosquito fish, applying screens to windows and avoiding areas where mosquitoes are likely to gather.

Wearing light-colored, protective clothing and using mosquito repellents and insecticides are also helpful in preventing mosquito bites.

Most mosquito repellents contain one of these common ingredients:

If you need help in choosing a mosquito repellent, ask your dermatologist for information about the safest most effective products available.

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