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Fact Versus Fiction: How To Protect Yourself Against Zika

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Keeping mosquitoes at bay is not an exact science and some repellents work better than others.

Officials said now is not the time to take chances, CBS2's Dave Carlin reported.

"You want to avoid mosquito bites and there are many ways to do that," said Dr. Jennifer Wu of Northwell Health Lenox Hill Hospital.

Wu wants her patients to stay out of Zika zones, but also to know the best products to keep mosquitoes from biting. And all repellents are not created equal.

Consumer Reports recently put them to the test and found one ingredient is best. Experts said repellents containing DEET are found to be the most effective.

MORE ON ZIKA FROM THE CDC: Basics | FAQ | Info For Pregnant Women | Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment | 10 Facts About Zika

Consumer Reports recommends DEET as an active ingredient in a concentration of 15 to 30 percent works best. Be sure to cover all bare skin.

"So for example if you're spraying your arm, you want to make sure you turn your arm and do the underside. You don't want to spray the repellent under clothing, but you can spray on your clothing," Trisha Calvo, of Consumer Reports, said.

Also effective is Picaridin at 20 percent and oil of lemon eucalyptus is at 30 percent concentration.

"It has eucalyptus lemon. A lot of patients are using that and found good results," Wu said.

But Consumer Reports warns the public to stay away from products advertised as family friendly, with natural plant oils.

These include citronella, cedar oil and lemongrass. Testing found some of those ingredients failed immediately.

"They really didn't repel the kind of mosquitoes that carry the Zika virus at all," Calvo said.

When it comes to fighting mosquitoes, putting dryer sheets in your pockets or bands around your wrists are not considered effective.

New York's attorney general is going after companies he saysscam the public with bogus bands, patches and even ultrasound devices.

Doctors say stick to government-approved repellents, and reapply them frequently.

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