Date: July 16, 2019

Mainly cloudy with 60 percent chance of showers. Risk of a thunderstorm this afternoon. Wind southwest 20 km/h gusting to 40. High 29. Humidex 37. UV index 7 or high.


Feels like 36C

Environment Canada
Text Size >   A   A   A

Printer Friendly

Travel Immunization Links


Immunization Clinics

Insect Bite Protection for Travellers

This page was reviewed or revised on Thursday, July 21, 2016 2:24 PM

Environmental Health & Prevention Services

In other parts of the world, a mosquito bite can cause severe illness and even death. Travellers to countries where mosquitoes are known to cause malaria and other "tropical" illnesses should take extra precautions to ensure that they don’t expose themselves to the risk of severe illness caused by mosquito and other insect bites.

Mosquitoes and ticks are part of the arthropod family of insects.

Mosquito and other arthropod bites can be prevented by:

  • wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, hats and boots to reduce exposed skin
  • applying repellent liberally to all exposed skin areas
  • applying repellents to clothing, shoes tents, mosquito nets, and other gear
  • using a bed net that has been sprayed with repellent and tucking the ends under the mattress
  • using mosquito coils (ensure coils do not contain DDT)
  • limit outdoor activity between dusk and dawn to reduce the risk of Malaria and Japanese Encephalitis in specific areas
  • sleep in well-screened areas whenever possible

Insect repellents should be in lotion form (as opposed to aerosol sprays) and should contain at least 30% DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide) for adult use. DEET is effective against mosquitoes, ticks, chiggers, sand flies, fleas and black flies but not against bees, wasps and hornets.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that repellents used on children contain no more than 10% DEET.

Adverse reactions to repellents can be decreased by taking the following precautions:

  • avoid high concentrations of DEET.
  • do not inhale, ingest or get into the eye.
  • avoid applying to children’s hands, as they are likely to have contact with the eyes or mouth.
  • never use on wounds or irritated skin.
  • wash repellent-treated skin after coming indoors.
  • pregnant and nursing women should minimize use.
  • if using a sunscreen, apply the sunscreen first to allow it to bind to the skin. Let it dry (usually 3-5 minutes), then apply insect repellent.

Permethrin is also a highly effective repellent and insecticide for use on clothing, shoes bed nets, and camping gear. Permethrin-treated clothing repels and kills ticks, mosquitoes and other arthropods, even after repeated laundering.