Insect Avoidance Measures

What you should know

Insect Avoidance

Insect Avoidance Measures

Although vaccines or tablets are available against important insect borne diseases such as Yellow Fever, Malaria and Japanese Encephalitis, they are not 100% protective. Unfortunately there are no vaccines for most other mosquito-borne diseases such as Dengue Fever. General protective measures and insect repellents are essential when travelling.

General Protective Measures

  • Most insect-borne diseases are seasonal. Changing your itinerary to travel in a low insect season (if possible) may reduce the risk.
  • Avoid outdoor activities during twilight periods at dawn and dusk as the mosquitoes and insects are most active. If outside, use repellents and mosquito coils.
  • Repellents – Permethrin-containing repellents are recommended for use on clothing, shoes, bed-nets and camping gear. Permethrin treated clothing repels and kills ticks and mosquitoes and other insects for up to 5 washes. There appears to be little potential for toxicity.
  • Wear a light coloured long-sleeved shirt, long pants and a hat to minimise exposed skin.
  • Avoid perfumes, after-shave and scented body lotions as these attract mosquitoes and insects.
  • For possible exposure to tick and mites, pants should be tucked into socks and boots should be worn. Not sandals. Inspect body and clothes for ticks after a day of outdoor activities.
  • Use mosquito nets when staying in accommodation that is not air-conditioned or adequately screened. These need to be treated with permethrin for adequate protection.
  • Aerosol insecticides should be used to clear rooms of mosquitoes and other insects before going to bed at night.


DEET (Diethyltoluamide) and Picaridin based insect repellents are commonly recommended for insect bite prevention. They are safe and effective. Insect repellent should be applied to exposed areas of the face, hands and legs. Contact with the eyes, mouth, and parts of hands that have contact with the mouth should be avoided. Wash off on going indoors at night. Bushmans Gel is 80% DEET and lasts up to 12 hours after application. Rid is 20% DEET and requires applying every 2-3 hours. Note: avoid DEET concentrations >30% in children. Pircaridin products do not last as long and need to be applied more often. Pregnant women should check with a health professional as to what is safe for use.

Repellents are available at Travel Vaccination Health Care.

Reference : Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC Yellow Book 2020: Health Information for International Travel. New York: Oxford University Press; 2017.

*For more detailed information, make an appointment at our travel health clinic and our travel health professionals will be more than happy to discuss your personal needs.