Tick Tips

Ticks on a rulerPlease be careful while enjoying the outdoors this year during tick season. Here are some tips that will help you prevent tick-borne illness.

How to Minimize the Risk of Getting Ticks on You

  • Avoid areas that are wooded or bushy with high grass or a large volume of leaves, which are preferable to ticks. Walk in the center of the trail.
  • Dress appropriately in long sleeves and pants that are light colored. Tuck pants into socks.
  • Consider applying insect repellent with Tick Shield or DEET to skin while outdoors. Apply permethrin to clothing, but never to skin. Wash affected skin promptly when returning indoors.
  • Conduct a complete body check for ticks when returning indoors.
  • Place clothes in the dryer for 15 minutes, as ticks may survive a washing machine but not the hot dryer.
  • Check pets regularly for ticks. Use tick collars to prevent bites.

Tick Removal and What to Watch For if Bitten

Early tick removal reduces the risk of infection:

  • Use tweezers to grasp the mouth parts of the tick close to the skin.
  • Do not grasp or squeeze the body of the tick, as this may force the organisms carried by the tick into the person.
  • Pull the tick very firmly and straight out.
  • Do not use Vaseline, alcohol or burn the tick.
  • Put the tick into a container, as it may be sent to a lab in order to test for tick-borne illness.
  • Disinfect skin and tweezers. Wash hands.
  • Watch for symptoms: fatigue, headache, chills, fever, muscle/joint pain, swollen lymph nodes, Erythema migrans (bull's eye rash) over the next few weeks.
  • If you cannot remove, visit a health care provider as soon as possible.
  • Contact your health care provider for further evaluation after finding an embedded tick.

How to Get Rid of Ticks in your Yard

Create a tick-free area in your yard:

  • Create dry non-wooded areas, as ticks thrive in wet wooded areas, by placing gravel or wood chips between lawns and wooded areas to stop tick migration.
  • Clear tall grass and leaves.
  • Keep wood in dry areas.
  • Prevent deer, which carry ticks, from entering yard. Do not feed deer. Use deer-resistant plants.

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