This Bug Spray Fights Zika
Summer is mosquito season across much of the U.S., and this year could bring a new threat: Zika virus. Like diseases such as West Nile, yellow fever, malaria, and others, Zika—which can cause serious birth defects—is primarily spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. So far, there have been more than 750 confirmed cases of Zika infection across the country; however, none of these cases have been contracted here.
Consumer Reports tested 16 insect repellents to determine which ones are most effective against 2 types of mosquitoes—those that transmit West Nile virus and those that spread Zika. Results were very promising for bug sprays that contain one of 3 ingredients considered safe: DEET, Picaridin, and oil of lemon eucalyptus. The highest rated product—Sawyer’s Fisherman’s Formula Picaridin—effectively kept mosquitoes away for 8 hours.
According to Consumer Reports, products that contain natural plant oils, including citronella and lemongrass, are ineffective. Other mosquito-fighting tips from the CDC include wearing long-sleeve shirts and long pants, limiting time outdoors when mosquitoes are active, and using window and door screens to keep bugs outside.
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