Dealing with Mosquito Bites in Mexico: Precautions & Treatments

Wondering how to deal with mosquito bites in Mexico?

I hear you. I live in Mexico and mosquitoes are my main nightmare.

In this post, I’ll tell you everything I know to avoid mosquito bites in Mexico.

And if you do get bitten, I will mention ways to deal with mosquito bites as well and also answer some common questions regarding it. So let’s get started.

Mosquito bites

How to Avoid Mosquito Bites in Mexico

Avoiding mosquito bites in Mexico is not easy but there are a few things you can do to help them stay away from you.

Some of them may seem obvious but it’s a good reminder.

πŸ‘‰πŸ½ Mosquito Repellent Lotion

Mosquito-repellent lotions are one of the easiest and most effective ways to avoid mosquito bites in Mexico.

These lotions contain ingredients like DEET or picaridin – which work as a barrier between your skin or make the mosquitoes steer clear of you, making repellent lotions highly effective when it comes to protecting you from mosquito bites.

When packing for your trip, make sure to bring lots of mosquito-repellent lotion. But if you forget it, worry not, because you can find a lot of those here.

You can carry it along wherever you go and apply it to the exposed parts of your to stay safe from mosquito bites.

However keep in mind that in some protected areas, like cenotes and natural parks mosquito repellents are prohibited.

In this case, I recommend covering your skin as much as you can, even if it’s hot. This way you can protect yourself from the sun and mosquito bites.

Aerial view of the Marina Beach
Marina Beach in Cabo San Lucas

πŸ‘‰πŸ½ Mosquito Nets on Doors and Windows

Mosquito nets are an effective way of keeping these pesky insects out of your living spaces, which is why it’s a really good idea to put them on doors and windows.

This way, you won’t have to worry about mosquito bites in Mexico when you’re indoors.

πŸ‘‰πŸ½ Mosquito Nets for Beds

Mosquitoes are on the lookout for you to fall asleep so they can get to work without being disturbed.

Luckily, mosquito nets for beds are also a thing – and one of the best protective measures against mosquitoes at that!

Make sure you get one for your bed as well in order to avoid mosquito bites in Mexico.

Santa Maria Beach shore
Santa Maria Beach in Cabo San Lucas Mexico

πŸ‘‰πŸ½ Don’t Expose Too Much Skin

Covering as much of your skin as possible will prevent mosquito bites.

Full sleeves, long pants, and a hat can serve as effective barriers to prevent bites.

To further reduce the chance of getting bitten, you can tuck your shirt into your pants and your pants into your socks.

By doing so, you will maximize your protection against mosquitoes.

When I was kayaking in the lagoon in Sisal, Yucatan, there were swarms of fierce mosquitoes, so much so that the repellent only wasn’t good enough. I had to wear long sleeves, long pants, and boots, to protect myself from the bites.

πŸ‘‰πŸ½ Candles and Incense

Candles and incense are often used as natural ways to repel mosquitoes.

Citronella candles and incense are the most commonly used and may help keep mosquitoes at bay to some extent.

Other candles and incense that can repel mosquitoes contain essential oils such as lavender, eucalyptus, or peppermint.

Just keep in mind that candles and incense may provide some level of protection against mosquitoes, but they are generally not as effective as synthetic repellents containing DEET or picaridin and may not be suitable for all situations.

πŸ‘‰πŸ½ Mosquito Coils

Mosquito coils are a type of mosquito repellent made from a dried paste of plant-based materials and insecticides.

When the coil is lit, it smolders slowly and releases smoke that repels mosquitoes.

These can be an effective way to protect yourself from mosquito bites in Mexico, but they also produce smoke, which can be irritating to some people so it’s important to use them in a well-ventilated area.

beach in Cabo San Lucas - always use insect repellents to avoid mosquito bites in Mexico
Empacadero Beach in Cabo San Lucas Mexico

πŸ‘‰πŸ½ Bug Sprays

Bug sprays, also known as insect repellents, are a common and effective way to avoid mosquito bites in Mexico.

They work by creating a barrier between the skin and mosquitoes, making it less likely that the mosquitoes will bite.

There are several types of insect repellents available, including those containing synthetic ingredients like DEET or picaridin and ones with natural ingredients like IR3535 and natural oils such as lemon eucalyptus.

πŸ‘‰πŸ½ Electronic Mosquito Repellents

βœ”οΈ Chemical diffuser and sound waves

Chemical diffusers use specific oils to release a scent that repels mosquitoes, while sound wave devices emit high-frequency sounds that are irritating to mosquitoes.

You can use either of these to prevent mosquito bites.

However, it’s worth mentioning here that these types of mosquito repellents may be effective in some situations, but it’s important to follow additional mosquito prevention measures as well.

Chichen Itza temples - explore one of the Seven Wonders of the World but don't forget to use mosquito repellents to avoid mosquito bites in Mexico
Temples in Chichen Itza

βœ”οΈ Ultra-violet light lamps

Bug zappers are a kind of lamp used to prevent mosquito bites.

These lamps emit UV light, which is said to attract mosquitoes and other flying insects, and then kill them with an electric charge.

While UV light lamps may be effective in killing mosquitoes, they don’t actually repel them.

In fact, they may even attract more mosquitoes to the area.

Therefore, it’s important to use other mosquito prevention measures in addition to UV light lamps, such as wearing long sleeves and pants and using insect repellent.

πŸ‘‰πŸ½ Natural Mosquito Repellents

Apart from synthetic repellent ingredients like DEET and picaridin, there are also some natural alternatives that work just as well. These include:

πŸ‘πŸΌ Citronella oil: This oil, which is derived from the leaves of the citronella plant, is a popular natural mosquito repellent. It can be applied directly to the skin or used in candles or diffusers.

πŸ‘πŸΌ Oil of lemon eucalyptus: Lemon eucalyptus oil is extracted from the leaves of the lemon eucalyptus tree and is an effective ingredient for repelling mosquitoes.

πŸ‘πŸΌ Lavender oil: The oil extracted from the flowers of the lavender plant has a calming scent that can also repel mosquitoes.

It’s important to note that natural mosquito repellents may not be as effective as chemical repellents, and they may need to be reapplied more frequently.

Chichen Itza Mil Columnas
Chichen Itza Mil Columnas

How to Treat Mosquito Bites in Mexico

Mosquito bites can be itchy and uncomfortable, but they usually go away on their own within a few days.

However, if you’re experiencing a lot of discomforts, there are some things you can do to relieve the symptoms:

πŸ’‘ Wash the bite with soap and water.

πŸ’‘ Wash with very hot water or put the bitten portion of the skin on a hot surface! It should eliminate the source of the itching. I did it and it worked. BEWARE: You don’t have to burn yourself!

πŸ’‘ Avoid scratching the bite, as this can lead to further irritation or infection. If you do scratch, use some antiseptic (or alcohol) to avoid infection.

πŸ’‘ Apply a topical anti-itch cream or lotion, such as calamine or hydrocortisone cream, to the bite to reduce itching and inflammation. (if you are not allergic to it)

If you develop severe symptoms from a mosquito bite, such as soreness, swelling, or redness with pain and itching, seek medical attention immediately.

These symptoms could indicate an allergic reaction, which requires prompt treatment.

Keep in mind that you can find all the above-mentioned items in Mexico.

Aerial view of Punta Cancun
Punta Cancun Mexico

Mexico Mosquito Season

The mosquito season in Mexico runs from April to November, when the weather is hotter and more humid, making it possible for mosquitoes to roam around outdoors without having to worry about their body temperature dropping too much.

πŸ“† Best Month to Avoid Mosquitoes in Mexico

Mosquitoes are the least active in Mexico during the winter months of December through March, so this is when you can best avoid these annoying insects and their bites.

⏰ Mosquito Active Hours

While mosquitoes prefer a warmer and moist environment, they also can’t risk getting out in the sunlight and becoming dehydrated.

This is why mosquitoes tend to be the most active during the cooler times of the day; in other words, mosquitoes are most active during the early mornings, evenings, and nights.

tulum beach - from Cancun to Tulum
Tulum Beach

What Diseases Can You Get from Mosquitoes in Mexico

Mosquitoes are known to transmit a variety of diseases to humans, some of which can be serious or even life-threatening.

The specific mosquito bite disease in Mexico will depend on the species of mosquito – but two diseases are on the top of the list: dengue and malaria.

Here is a detailed overview of those.

πŸ“Œ Dengue

πŸ‘‰πŸ½ What is Dengue Fever?

Dengue fever is a viral illness caused by bites from infected yellow fever mosquitoes (Aedes).

The virus is found in tropical and subtropical areas of the world, including parts of Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Southeast Asia.

πŸ‘‰πŸ½ Symptoms of Dengue Fever

Patients with dengue fever present a variety of symptoms.

The virus can cause high fever, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, lethargy or restlessness, headache (or other kinds of aches and pains in the body), and a rash.

aerial view of the city of Guanajuato in Mexico
Guanajuato City, Mexico – Photo from Canva

πŸ‘‰πŸ½ Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever

Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever is a severe form of dengue that can occur in some patients after getting infected with the dengue virus – typically 3-7 days after symptoms of dengue fever first appear.

Symptoms of Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever may include abdominal pain, vomiting, intense body temperature changes, bleeding from the nose or gums or blood in the urine or stool, and mood swings such as irritability or confusion.

The fever can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention, and patients with warning signs should seek prompt care.

Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever can be prevented by avoiding mosquito bites and seeking medical care early.

πŸ‘‰πŸ½ Dengue Fever Treatment

There is no specific treatment for dengue fever, so supportive care is the best course of action.

This may include resting a lot, drinking plenty of fluids, and seeing a doctor. But in severe cases, hospitalization may be required.

You should also avoid further mosquito bites during the illness to prevent the spread of the virus.

In some cases, dengue fever can progress to a life-threatening condition called Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever, which requires prompt medical attention.

A plaza in Mexico with a red building in front of a park
Campeche Mexico – Photo from Canva

πŸ‘‰πŸ½ How to Avoid Dengue Fever

The best way to avoid dengue fever is to prevent mosquito bites.

Measures like wearing specific clothing to minimize skin exposure, remaining in mosquito-free areas, and using mosquito repellents as well as bed nets can help reduce the risk of getting infected with dengue fever.

πŸ“Œ Malaria

πŸ‘‰πŸ½ What is Malaria?

Malaria is one of the most common febrile diseases transmitted through mosquito bites.

It’s caused by a parasite that infects a specific species of mosquitoes called Marsh Mosquitoes (Anopheles).

Once a female mosquito feeds on blood infected with malaria parasites, the disease gets transmitted to other humans when they’re bitten by it.

Xcaret park in Cancun
Xcaret Cancun Mexico – Photo from Canva

πŸ‘‰πŸ½ Symptoms of Malaria

The most common symptoms of malaria include high fever, chills, sweating, nausea and vomiting, aches and pain in the body, headache, and feelings of discomfort and restlessness.

In severe cases, fluid buildup in the lungs, abnormal behavior, seizures, and anemia are some of the additional symptoms caused by malaria.

πŸ‘‰πŸ½ Malaria Zones in Mexico

Mexico’s malaria zones include the states of Chiapas, southern Chihuahua, Durango, Nayarit, Oaxaca, Quintana Roo, Sinaloa, and Tabasco.

While malaria risk is very low and present intermittently throughout the year, these states have reported cases of the disease in recent years.

πŸ‘‰πŸ½ Risk of Malaria in Mexico

Thankfully, Mexico’s malaria risk is very low.

Only Chiapas and the southern part of Chihuahua have reported some cases of the disease, with rare reports in Durango, Nayarit, Oaxaca, Quintana Roo, Sinaloa, and Tabasco.

However, you should take precautions to avoid mosquito bites to reduce the risk of contracting malaria when visiting Mexico.

Casa Cenote drone view
Casa Cenote Drone view

πŸ‘‰πŸ½ How to Avoid Malaria

To avoid malaria in Mexico, it is important to prevent mosquito bites – especially in Mexico’s malaria zones.

Mosquitoes that transmit malaria tend to bite between dusk and dawn, so it’s recommended to stay indoors during this time if possible.

If you need to be outdoors, wear protective clothing such as a full-sleeved shirt, long pants, and a hat to reduce the amount of exposed skin.

You can also use insect repellents containing DEET or other recommended ingredients, and sleep under a mosquito net in areas where malaria is a concern.

It’s important to follow these measures consistently to reduce the risk of being bitten by a malaria-carrying mosquito.

πŸ“Œ Other Mosquito-Borne Illnesses

In addition to dengue and malaria, there are several other mosquito-related illnesses that can be found in Mexico. These include:

πŸ’‰ Zika virus: Zika is a viral infection that is primarily transmitted by the Aedes mosquito. Symptoms can include fever, rash, joint and muscle pain, and red eyes. It’s more dangerous for pregnant women.

πŸ’‰ Chikungunya fever: Chikungunya is a viral infection that is spread by the Aedes mosquito. Symptoms include fever, joint pain, muscle pain, headache, and rash.

Aerial view of Queretaro Skyline
Queretaro Skyline in Mexico – Photo from Canva

Other Common Bug Bites in Mexico

πŸͺ³ Bed bug bites

Bed bug bites are common throughout the world, and Mexico is no exception.

These bugs feed on human blood, so we’re always at risk of being bitten by them.

Their bites can turn into itchy welts and inflammation.

If you get bitten by a bed bug in Mexico, it’s best to wash the bite with soap and water and apply over-the-counter medicine like corticosteroid cream to help with itching and inflammation.

Chcihen Itza Cenote
Cenote in Chichen Itza

🐜 Ant bites

Ants often bite humans when they feel threatened by us.

The sting causes burning pain and leaves small, red marks like pimples on the skin.

Usually, these spots go away after a few days and there is no need for treatment, but it’s extremely painful.

Usually, the red ants are the most dangerous but I was bitten by a specific type of black ant and it was not fun, believe me.

This is the reason why when I go in the jungle I always wear hiking boots or tennis shoes, to prevent these types of bite.

Even worse, if you develop an allergic reaction to the sting, causing swelling or itching, it’s best to consult a doctor.

πŸͺ² Flea bites

Fleas are bugs that mainly bite humans around the ankles. On the surface, flea bites look similar to bed bug bites.

However, one distinction can be the tiny spots of red in the center of the bites.

These bites first turn into lumps, and then into a blister or wound – and can even get infected as a result of scratching.

Usually, you won’t need any treatment for flea bites as they go away on their own.

An anti-itch cream and antihistamines can be used as over-the-counter medicines to manage itchiness and discomfort.

Just don’t scratch it and make sure to see a doctor if the symptoms start getting severe.

Aerial view of Isla Mujeres coast
Isla Mujeres coast

πŸ•·οΈ Spider bites

Spiders are seldom aggressive and try to stay away from humans, so bites from them are rare.

However, even if you do get bitten, you won’t notice any symptoms other than a small, itchy bump on the skin with redness/inflammation.

The majority of these bites usually heal on their own.

As a first-aid treatment, you can wash them with soap and water, apply cold compresses, and take pain relief medicine.

But if a larger patch of your skin gets red and swollen and you experience intense pain for more than an hour, seek prompt medical attention.

πŸͺ³ Tick bites

Tick bites can be a concern in certain areas of Mexico.

They’re usually harmless, but can sometimes cause Lyme disease, which is a major tick-borne illness.

It can cause fever, headache, fatigue, and a rash called erythema migrans. If left untreated, severe symptoms and complications can occur.

To avoid tick bites in Mexico, it’s important to take precautions when spending time in wooded or grassy areas.

Follow the safety precautions highlighted above, and check your skin and clothing frequently for ticks.

If you experience symptoms after a tick bite, seek medical attention right away.

πŸ¦‚ Scorpion bites

Scorpions are common in Mexico, and their bites can be painful and dangerous, especially for young children and older adults.

The venom of some species of scorpions found in Mexico can cause serious symptoms, including sweating, tingling, muscle twitching, high blood pressure, and difficulty breathing.

It’s important to take precautions such as shaking out shoes and clothing before putting them on, and wearing protective footwear when walking outside to avoid getting bitten.

It is usually more common if you are sleeping in lush tropical areas close to nature, rather than the beach or cities, but it can happen everywhere.

But if you do get bitten by a scorpion, seek medical attention immediately.

πŸͺ° Horsefly bite

The horsefly bite is extremely itchy and can last up to a week, but it’s not dangerous unless you have developed an allergy to it. The area of the skin around the bite usually gets warmer and swollen.

Horseflies are around all year round but especially in the summer, with hotter weather, and are more common in lush tropical areas, like near cenotes or rivers but sometimes even on the beach.

Las Viudas Beach
Las Viudas Beach in Cabo San Lucas

Frequently Asked Questions about Mosquitoes in Mexico

What is the best mosquito repellent in Mexico?

There is no single best mosquito repellent for Mexico, but the ones with synthetic ingredients like DEET and picaridin have been shown to perform better than any other methods.

Ideally, you should use a combination of preventive measures like a mosquito repellent lotion/spray containing at least 20% DEET or picaridin along with mosquito nets and clothes that cover most of your skin.

A boat in the middle of the beach
Catamaran Cabo

Does Mexico have a mosquito problem?

Yes, mosquitoes are a problem in Mexico.

However, they’re commonly found only during the mosquito season of April-November, and that too mostly in areas like Durango, Chiapas, southern Chihuahua, Nayarit, Sinaloa, and Tabasco.

Why do I get so many mosquito bites in Mexico?

The reason you are getting mosquito bites in Mexico might be due to improper preventive measures.

Mosquito magnetism may also be at play here, but there is no cure for it, so only taking thorough steps to prevent bites can protect you against mosquitoes in Mexico.

I have highlighted the best methods above, so you can take advantage of those.

Bacalar Drone Cenote Esmeralda
Esmeralda Cenote in Bacalar

Are malaria cases high in Mexico?

Malaria cases have been declining in Mexico, and the risk of this disease is low these days.

What’s more, even the low risk of malaria is present in Mexico only during the mosquito season and only in certain parts of the country, so you can rest assured if you’re visiting here any other time.

View of the beach in Cabo
Sunset in Cabo San Lucas

Final Thoughts – What to Do with Mosquito Bites in Mexico

Mosquitoes are a common nuisance in Mexico, and their bites can lead to a variety of illnesses.

However, by taking simple precautions such as wearing protective clothing, using mosquito repellents, and avoiding outdoor activities during peak biting hours, you can greatly reduce the risk of mosquito bites.

In the event that you do get bitten, there are several treatments available to alleviate the symptoms and prevent complications.

Whether you prefer natural remedies or over-the-counter treatments, it’s important to stay vigilant and protect yourself from these pesky insects to fully enjoy your time in Mexico.

Disclaimer: Please keep in mind that this post doesn’t provide medical advice but general information on mosquitos in Mexico. For any further and more in-depth information, you should consult your doctor.