- Avoid areas with a lot of ticks
§ Ticks prefer wooded and bushy areas with high grass and a lot of leaf litter. These are areas to avoid.
§ Take extra precautions in May, June, and July. This is when ticks that transmit Lyme disease are most active.
§ If you do enter a tick area, walk in the center of the trail to avoid contact with overgrown grass, brush, and leaf litter.
- Keep ticks off your skin
§ Use insect repellent with 20% - 30% DEET on exposed skin and clothing to prevent tick bites. Effective repellents are found in drug, grocery, and discount stores.
§ Permethrin is another type of repellent. It can be purchased at outdoor equipment stores that carry camping or hunting gear. Permethrin kills ticks on contact. One application to pants, socks, and shoes typically stays effective through several washings. Permethrin should not be applied directly to skin.
§ Wear long pants, long sleeves, and long socks to keep ticks off your skin. Light-colored clothing will help you spot ticks more easily. Tucking pant legs into socks or boots and tucking shirts into pants help keep ticks on the outside of clothing. If you’ll be outside for an extended period of time, tape the area where your pants and socks meet to prevent ticks from crawling under your clothes.
- Check your skin and clothes for ticks every day
§ Take a shower as soon as you can after coming indoors.
§ Remove ticks from your clothes before going indoors. To kill ticks that you may have missed, wash your clothes with hot water and dry them using high heat for at least one hour.
§ Perform daily tick checks after being outdoors, even in your own yard. Inspect all parts of your body carefully including your armpits, scalp, and groin. Remove ticks immediately using fine-tipped tweezers.
§ If a tick is attached to your skin for less than 24 hours, your chance of getting Lyme disease is extremely small. But just to be safe, monitor your health closely after a tick bite and be alert for any signs and symptoms of tick-borne illness.