Many travellers worry about insect bites when visiting Antigua, and the problem can often be blown out of all proportion. It's a tropical island, there are bugs, those who are prone to being bitten probably will be, and children in particular should be protected. However there is plenty you can do to avoid this being an issue or in any way spoiling your triop.

The majority of bites aren't in fact from mosquitos, but from sand flies or 'no-see-ums', and these are at their most active in the hour before and after dawn and dusk, especially on the beach. Many mosquito bites happen at night, usually if one is trapped with you in your bedroom.

For general protection, a DEET based product is usually going to be the most effective. 20% strength is adequate, and there is no need for anything stronger than 50%. OFF!, which is available locally, is a good brand - the Deep Woods (green can) variant is stronger, and it is not strong smelling or sticky. If you're out and about, bars and restaurants will usually have a can available for customer use.

DEET based preparations are not suitable for children, and alternative include Johnsons Baby, or a high strength citronella based product such as Incognito. There are also various wrist and ankle bands available, as well as Vitamin B12 preparations and many travellers recommend Avon Skin So Soft as another non-DEET option.

There are other things you can do to help. Long sleeves and trousers mean less exposed skin, mosquito nets are especially effective over cots and buggies, and it can make a big difference to avoid using perfumes or scented toiletries.

Rooms can be treated with bug spray (close doors and leave for at least an hour after spraying) or mosquito mats, coils or vaporisers. 

If you are bitten, try to avoid scratching. You can use anti-itching products (which are widely available in both pharmacies and supermarkets), and if you have a bad reaction, taking anti-histamine tablets can help reduce the effect very quickly.

There are a lot of concerns about chikungunya, a mosquito borne virus which has been reported in Antigua. The type of mosquito that carries the virus is active during the daytime, so protection and insect repellents should be used all the time, rather than just at dawn and dusk.