Preventing a Tick Encounter
Reducing exposure to ticks is the best defense against Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and other tick-borne infections. There are several approaches you and your family can use to prevent and control Lyme disease:
- While it is a good idea to take preventive measures against ticks year-round, be extra vigilant in warmer months (April-September) when ticks are most active.
- Avoid direct contact with ticks by avoiding wooded and bushy areas with high grass and leaf litter. Always walk in the center of trails when possible.
- Repel ticks with DEET or permethrin. Use repellents that contain at least 20-30% DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide) on exposed skin and clothing for protection that lasts up to several hours. Always follow product instructions.
- Permethrin should only be applied to clothing. Treat clothing and gear, such as boots, pants, socks and tents with products containing 0.5% permethrin. It remains protective through several washings. Pre-treated clothing is available and may be protective longer. Other repellents registered by the EPA may be found online at https://cfpub.epa.gov/oppref/insect.
When Checking for Ticks, Remember To:
- When you come in from outdoors, check all over your body for ticks, including your groin, head, and underarms. Comb your hair with a fine-toothed comb, or have someone check your scalp.
- To remove ticks from clothing, put your clothes in a hot dryer or hang them out in the sun on a hot day for at least 15 minutes. The heat can kill the ticks. Also check for ticks on any gear you had with you in the woods.
- Check your children daily for ticks, especially during the summer months.
- Check your pets for ticks after they’ve been outdoors. Your pets can carry infected ticks indoors where they might fall off your pet and attach to you.
If you find a deer tick on yourself or a loved one, SAVE IT and get it tested for Lyme Disease! It’s much faster and more accurate than getting a person tested.