Best ways to keep mosquitoes at bay

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NEW YORK (CBS) Nobody likes mosquito bites. That's why Ayesha Ahmad uses insect repellant to protect her three children.

"We are fairly diligent if we are going to be out for a prolonged period of time," Ahmad said.

But avoiding those pesky mosquitoes can be tough.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends EPA-approved insect repellants containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus or 2-Undecanone.

"Many of these repellants are safe for use in children and in pregnant women," said Dr. Neha Vyas of the Cleveland Clinic.

Vyas says mosquitoes can attack any time of day, so if you are going to be outdoors for a while, wear long sleeves, pants and socks, or clothes treated with the chemical permethrin.

While most mosquito bites are just annoying, they can carry serious viruses like West Nile and Zika, so it's critical to be on the lookout for certain symptoms in the weeks after being bitten.

Signs of mosquito-borne illness can include fever, joint pain and headache. Vyas says you should see a doctor right away if you get sick after a bite and he cautions to avoid scratching because it will only make the bite itch more.

"You don't know what kind of bacteria reside under your nails, so if you scratch that area you could potentially cause an infection worse than the bite," Vyas explained. "You can apply a cold washcloth or a cold compress."

To keep mosquitoes at bay from the start, make sure you clean any standing water in and around your home so they don't have a place to breed.

Vyas doesn't recommend using an insect repellant with sunscreen in it because sunscreen needs to be applied more often and you don't need to reapply insect spray with the same frequency. It's best to apply sunscreen first, let it sit for 15-20 minutes and then apply the repellant.