You can't have summertime in Cleveland without at least one mosquito bite. The problem is that one bite leads to another and another and… well, you know.
There are a million products on the market guaranteeing relief, but their guarantee doesn't count for much when you're red and itchy. Here are some things that others have sworn by. There's no guarantee they'll work, but then we've already discussed the value of a guarantee.
Garlic - Not being gourmets, it is said that mosquitoes hate the taste of garlic. If you eat a lot of garlic they will be able to tell and will avoid contact, much in the way a vampire does. In the meantime, even if it fails, you have had the pleasure of a nice Italian meal.
Fabric Softener - I don't' know why but if you rub your arms and legs with the fabric softener dryer sheets mosquitoes will stay away. Choosing a particular brand or scent doesn't seem to make a difference.
Mint oil and rubbing alcohol - Mosquitoes don't like mint (no garlic OR mint?). If you make a mixture of the rubbing alcohol and mint oil and spray yourself with it you should, once again, be repulsive to a mosquito. Peppermint oil is the best choice, since it is the strongest.
Oil of Citronella with Vaseline - We've all tried the Citronella candles and they work to some extent. The problem is they cover a very small area and unless you stay close to your candle they will not be effective. By mixing the oil of citronella with Vaseline and applying it to all of your exposed areas (arms, legs, etc.) you have the effect of carrying the candle with you. Citronella is still virtually the most effective repellant.
In general, lotions and salves repel up to twice as long as sprays and liquids of equal strength in active ingredients. Of course, controlled release remedies minimize your exposure for a much longer period of time simply because they do not need frequent reapplication.
Natural remedies, although safest for the environment, must be re-applied often. Mixing the ingredient (such as oil of citronella) with a salve or lotion (like Vaseline) will increase its effectiveness. Natural products in high concentrations can be irritating and should therefore be used with caution.
Most commercial products contain DEET (diethyl tolumaide) in various concentrations from 10% to 100%. DEET is a very powerful chemical and is absorbed quickly into the bloodstream, so be wary of using a concentration too high. For the average adult 20-25% is effective. Children and older adults should not use a higher concentration than 10%.
Mosquitoes are attracted to standing water; hundreds can breed in a very small amount of water. Be sure to turn over items in your yard that can hold water (toys, empty flower pots, etc.). Try to wear light colored and loose fitting clothes. You'll also find heavy concentrations of mosquitoes in highly vegetated areas especially on calm humid days near sunrise and sunset.
So there you have it. A basic primer on repelling summertime's biggest pest. No guarantees, but what have you got to loose but an itchy, red welt that just won't seem to go away?