Burlington Travel Clinic

Mosquito Safety

Dengue Fever


Insects or Athropods play a major role in travel-related vector-borne diseases, some of which are extremely serious, like malaria, yellow fever and Japanese encephalitis. In addition, many others like west nile, lyme disease, dengue, and leishmania are also possible to contract through insects.

Famous examples of carriers are mosquitoes, flies and ticks. They are tiny but pack huge consequences.

Fortunately, prevention is easy if the traveller follows these simple instructions:

1. Stay away.

Vectors can bite any time of the day but certain disease vectors have PEAK biting times. For example dengue and chikungunya-spreading Aedes mosquitoes are daylight biters. On the other hand Malaria Anopheles mosquitoes bite during dusk and dawn, as well as during the evening when it’s dark.

All windows should have screens.

2. Cover up.

Use physical barriers like insecticide-treated bed nets and wear appropriate clothing.

The best practice is to wear Permethrin-treated (See: 4. Use repellents) long-sleeved shirts and pants. Pants should be tucked into socks or boots.

Always COVER UP!

3. Inspect clothes and body.

Check out every single inch for ticks! Prompt removal of Ixodes ticks (http://www.cdc.gov/lyme/removal/index.html) will prevent infection.

4. Use repellents.

Repellents are safe, not expensive, effective and easy to use.

Picaridin is the first choice repellent due to its safety and efficacy.DEET is also effective.

20% Picardin can be safely used in those aged 6 months and above.

Permethrin, derived from chrysanthemum flower, is a very effective and safe repellent used to treat clothes and gear before wearing them. Travellers should treat their gear and clothes before travel and let them dry out. After it’s dry, it’s odorless .

Permethrin almost has no disadvantages , its not expensive, easy to use , safe and effective provided used properly according to manufacturer’s labeling. Permethrin should not be sprayed directly on skin or body or on clothing while they are worn.

Permethrin treated clothing and bed nets are commercially available.

Spray your outfits, bags, camp chairs and tents for superior bug repellency.

It repels and kills mosquitoes and many other insects including ticks.

Repellents can be applied to exposed skin and clothing; however, they should not be applied under clothing*. Repellents should never be used over cuts, wounds, or irritated skin*. Young children should not be allowed to handle the product*. When using repellent on a child, an adult should apply it to his or her own hands and then rub them on the child, with the following considerations*:

  • Avoid the child’s eyes and mouth, and apply sparingly around the ears.
  • Do not apply repellent to children’s hands, since children tend to put their hands in their mouths.
  • Heavy application and saturation are generally unnecessary for effectiveness. If biting insects do not respond to a thin film of repellent, then apply a bit more.
  • After returning indoors, wash treated skin with soap and water or bathe. This is particularly important when repellents are used repeatedly in a day or on consecutive days.

Products that contain both repellents and sunscreen are generally not recommended, because instructions for use are different and the need to reapply sunscreen is usually more frequent than with repellent alone. In general, apply sunscreen first, then apply repellent. Mosquito coils should be used with caution in the presence of children to avoid burns and inadvertent ingestion*.

For more information on how to use repellents, please visit:


http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/publicat/ccdr-rmtc/12vol38/acs-dcc-3/index-  eng.php

The aforementioned steps are your first line of defense that you cannot do without!

*Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC Health Information for International Travel 2014. New York: Oxford University Press; 2014.