Can I take vitamin B-12 to help prevent mosquito bites? What about garlic? I've heard that some foods help repel bugs.
Joseph Conlon, technical advisor at the American Mosquito Control Association, says that ingested vitamin B-12 has not been shown to have any repellent effect on mosquitoes in controlled studies. Garlic has also failed to pass muster in this regard.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: http://www.cdc.gov offer the following tips for ways to protect your family from mosquito bites:
1. Apply insect repellent containing DEET when spending time outdoors. Use repellent safely. Always read and follow product instructions. Avoid applying repellent to children less than 2 years old. Use care in applying repellent to small children, and don't put repellent on their hands because it may get into their mouth or eyes and cause irritation.
2. Limit the number of places available for mosquitoes to lay their eggs by eliminating standing water sources from around your home.
3. Wear long-sleeved clothes and long pants treated with repellent to further reduce your risk, or stay indoors during peak mosquito feeding hours (dusk until dawn).
Melinda Hemmelgarn, M.S., R.D., Former Nutritional Sciences Specialist, University of Missouri-Columbia
Last update: Tuesday, November 25, 2008