Summary

  • Before you go on holidays make plans on how you can protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites.
  • Be prepared, find out about the local conditions and whether you can expect mosquitoes where you are travelling.
  • Whether camping or renting make sure your accommodation has fly screens fitted on doors and windows.
  • Take mosquito repellent containing picaridin or DEET with you, as you may not be able to buy what you want when you get to your destination.
  • Pack long, loose fitting clothing to wear when the mosquitoes are out.  
  • Apply a thin, even layer of repellent to any exposed skin and make sure you reapply it regularly. as required.
  • Look after young children and babies and make sure they have the right clothes and are wearing mosquito repellent.
  • Have a great holiday and make sure you plan well to Beat the bite!

The best holidays are often spent at the beach, river or lakeside, or if you are lucky an overseas trip at some exotic location. Mosquito-borne diseases typically occur around inland waterways and coastal regions. Mosquitoes need water to breed. Heavy rains and flooding coupled with warmer temperatures can bring mosquitoes.

The best protection from mosquito-borne diseases is to avoid mosquito bites. Don’t let mosquitoes ruin your well-earned break.

Follow this simple checklist to protect yourself from mosquitoes during your holiday.

Know what to expect before you leave home

If you plan to visit an area that has recently experienced heavy rain or are travelling to a tropical location that regularly experiences warmer temperatures, it is a good idea to find out what you can expect and what precautions you need to take.

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Do your research.  Find out about where you are going and how likely it is you will experience mosquitoes.

Check your accommodation is mosquito-proof

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If camping check your tent or caravan have fly screens fitted to doors and windows, and that any outdoor entertaining area you are taking can be enclosed with mesh screens.

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Take a tent that is factory-treated with a residual insecticide, or visit a camping store to purchase a product that you can apply to your tent.

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Consider taking a mosquito net that is treated with a residual insecticide if sleeping outdoors, including if sleeping in a tent or cabin.

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If renting accommodation ask if the house or cabin has fly screens on doors and windows.

Buy mosquito repellent before you leave home

It may be best to take mosquito repellents with you.  This can be particularly important when travelling overseas where it can be difficult to obtain effective products. Even when travelling in Australia, if you have a preferred repellent, make sure you pack it because you may not be able to purchase your favorite product in every store.

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Buy mosquito repellents that contain picaridin or DEET as the active ingredient.  The greater the strength, the longer the duration of protection.

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Consider purchasing different styles of mosquito repellent depending on where you may need to use it.  
For example a small roll-on version for your handbag or day bag, spray-on small bottles for car or beach bag, larger spray bottles for use at your accommodation.

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If needed, purchase "knock-down" fly spray, mosquito coils or candles containing insecticide.

What to pack for a mosquito safe holiday

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Pack mosquito repellent containing either picaridin or DEET.

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Pack "knock-down" fly spray

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Pack mosquito coils or candles with insecticide

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Pack mosquito net if required.

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Pack long, loose-fitting clothing, make sure the cuffs around the ankles and wrists are firm so mosquitoes can’t fly under clothes.

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Pack socks and closed-toe shoes.

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Pack a loose hat.

When you arrive at your holiday destination

Remember that mosquitoes may be present as soon as you arrive at your location, including at airports.

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Packing a small amount of repellent (such as a roll-on pack) in hand-luggage so you can apply it when you reach
your destination.

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Check that your accommodation has well maintained fly screens, if it does not make sure you protect yourself from mosquito bites indoors as well as outdoors.

Ways to protect yourself during your holiday

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When outdoors wear long, loose-fitting clothing that cover arms and legs , mosquitoes can bite through tight-fitting clothes.

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Wear socks and shoes where possible. Mosquitoes love to bite these spots, and people forget to put repellent on this area.

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Apply mosquito repellent to all exposed skin regularly. Do not apply excessive repellent – use a thin, even layer.

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Wear a loose hat, mosquitoes can often bite your scalp.

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Reapply repellent after exercising or showering.

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Reapply repellent after swimming unlike many sunscreens mosquito repellent is not water resistant.

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If mosquitoes come out at dawn or dusk make sure you are prepared before they start biting by wearing protective clothing and repellent at this time.

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Before you settle indoors or go to bed check your accommodation and use "knock-down" fly spray on any visible mosquitoes.

Ways to protect babies and children from mosquito bites during holidays 

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Use mosquito repellents safely by following the instructions on the product label.

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When mosquitoes are out, dress children in long, loose fitting clothes. Make sure cuffs around ankles and wrists are firm.

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Never allow young children to apply their own repellent. Choose a lower strength repellent (no more than
20 per cent picaridin or DEET) and apply a thin, even layer as required. Avoid applying repellent to your children’s hands, eyes and mouth.

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Drape mosquito nets over prams, strollers and infant carriers, ensuring there are no gaps.

Where to get help

If you have any concerns about your health

  • Your doctor
  • NURSE-ON-CALL Tel. 1300 60 60 24 – for expert health information and advice (24 hours, 7 days)
  • Your pharmacist
References

Beat the bite! Mosquito-proof your holiday, Department of Health and Human Services, Victoria Australia, October 2016

More information

Travel and holidays

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Staying safe and healthy

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This page has been produced in consultation with and approved by: Department of Health and Human Services

Last updated: July 2017

Content on this website is provided for education and information purposes only. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your doctor or other registered health professional. Content has been prepared for Victorian residents and wider Australian audiences, and was accurate at the time of publication. Readers should note that, over time, currency and completeness of the information may change. All users are urged to always seek advice from a registered health care professional for diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.