With summertime in full swing, you've probably been applying (and re-applying) bug spray every time you step outside. According to the Arkansas Department of Health website, Arkansas has the kind of mosquitoes that carry the Zika virus. That means mosquitoes here in Arkansas could become infected with the virus if they bite someone who has Zika.
The ADH has reported 18 cases of travel-associated Zika virus cases (meaning people were bitten by a Zika-carrying mosquito outside of Arkansas and returned home with the disease). But luckily there have been no local cases of Zika here in Arkansas.
Since the mere thought of contracting the Zika virus can be pretty scary, the ADH recommends the following methods of prevention:
- using bug spray containing DEET*, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus
- wearing long-sleeved shirts and trousers
- using air conditioning or window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside
- reducing the number of mosquitoes inside and outside your home by emptying standing water from containers such as flowerpots or buckets (mosquitoes can breed in as little amount of water as a bottle cap!)
Without further ado, here are the top Zika-repelling bug sprays as recommended by a study conducted by the Consumer Reports:
- Sawyer's Fisherman's Formula Picaridin
For those concerned about using DEET, picaridin is a great alternative. This spray is virtually odorless, is safe to use on kids and during pregnancy and lasts for up to 8 hours — and it got top marks in the Consumer Reports testing. You can find it at Walmart, Target and Cabela's.
- Ben's 30% DEET Tick & Insect Wilderness Formula
Ben's does contain DEET, but only the minimum DEET concentration recommended by the CDC for protection against mosquitos, ticks and biting insects. The spray offers 8 hours of protection and the water-based formula stays on skin's surface rather than being absorbed. You can find it at Walmart, Cabela's and Amazon.com.
- Natrapel 8 Hour, with 20 percent picaridin
This non-DEET alternative offers 8 hour protection in a spray bottle for easy application. This formula is safe to use around synthetic clothing and will not harm gear. You can find it at Walgreens, Dick's Sporting Goods and REI.
Off! Deepwoods VIII, with 25 percent DEET
With 25 percent DEET included, Off! Deepwoods VIII provides long-lasting protection with a non-greasy formula keeping all the creepy crawlies at bay. You can find it Target, Walmart and Amazon.com.
Repel Lemon Eucalyptus, with 30 percent lemon eucalyptus
Repel's Lemon Eucalyptus forumla has a cool, refreshing smell while keeping mosquitoes and other unsavory bugs at bay for up to 6 hours. The formula also contains Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, an ingredient recommended by the ADH. You can get it at Amazon, Target and Walmart.
*While DEET has been known to have negative side effects, the topic is controversial. Some users claim to have experienced symptoms such as headaches and rashes after using. However, the upside to DEET is that it's super effective, providing the most complete and long-lasting protection from mosquitoes. For more on DEET, click here.