If you live in areas where the Zika-spreading Aedes aegypti mosquito is prevalent, you may be wondering what to do to keep your and your family safe.
At a Friday news conference about the first U.S. mosquito-borne transmission of the virus, Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), recommended daily use of a DEET repellent on exposed skin, wearing long sleeves and pants and staying indoors or in screened areas whenever possible to avoid mosquito bites.
In July, SC Johnson announced a partnership with the Rio Olympics as the first-ever official supplier of insect repellent for the games. The company donated 115,000 units of the repellent to distribute to volunteers, staff, athletes and coaches.
According to a Consumer Reports evaluation, Off! Deepwoods VIII blend, which contains 25 percent DEET, provided “excellent” protection against the Aedes mosquitoes, working for up to eight hours. However, the spray ranked sixth overall in the brand’s bug spray rankings because it only protects against Lyme-spreading deer ticks for 5 hours.
Consumer Reports’ highest-rated repellent was Sawyer Picaridin, which provides eight hours of protection against Aedes mosquitos, and gives 3.5 more hours of deer tick protection.
The brand also recommended the following with “excellent” ratings:
· Ben's 30% Deet Tick & Insect Wilderness Formula
· Repel Lemon Eucalyptus
· Repel Scented Family
For those looking to avoid chemicals, such as DEET, essential oils are an option.
“Essential oils are a really great way to keep mosquitoes away that could be carrying the Zika virus because they’re natural, toxin free and they smell really great,” Lara Riggio, owner of The Lara Touch Wellness Center in New York, and an eastern healing and essential oils expert, told FoxNews.com. “It’s super easy: Get a three ounce bottle so you can actually travel with it, [and] fill it halfway with water and halfway with witch hazel.”
Riggio recommends adding 10 to 15 drops of citronella, eucalyptus, or tea tree oil to water, shaking it up and spraying it all over.
The Zika virus has infected 1,658 individuals in the U.S.