Prevent Tick Bites
Although tick exposure can happen all year, they are most active in warmer months. If a tick bite goes untreated it can lead to a number of diseases. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were 47,743 reported cases of tick borne diseases in the United States in 2018. Knowing what steps to take before and after working outside to prevent getting ticks is very important. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offer these tips on what to do when working outdoors:
Before You Go Outdoors
- Know where to expect ticks. Ticks live in grassy, brushy, or wooded areas, or even on animals. Spending time outside walking your dog, camping, gardening, or hunting could bring you in close contact with ticks.
- Treat clothing and gear. Products containing 0.5% permethrin. Permethrin can be used to treat boots, clothing and camping gear and remain protective through several washings. Alternatively, you can buy permethrin-treated clothing and gear.
- Use insect repellant. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE), para-menthane-diol (PMD), or 2-undecanone. Always follow product instructions. Do not use products containing OLE or PMD on children under 3 years old.
- Avoid Contact with Ticks
- Avoid wooded and brushy areas with high grass and leaf litter.
- Walk in the center of trails.
After You Come Indoors
- Check your clothing for ticks. Ticks may be carried into the house on clothing. Tumble dry clothes on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks on dry clothing after you come indoors. If the clothes are damp, additional time may be needed. If the clothes require washing first, hot water is recommended. Cold and medium temperature water will not kill ticks.
- Examine gear and pets. Ticks can ride into the home on pets, then attach to a person later, so carefully examine pets when they come inside.
- Shower soon after being outdoors. Showering within two hours of coming indoors has been shown to reduce your risk of getting Lyme disease and may be effective in reducing the risk of other tick borne diseases. Showering may help wash off unattached ticks and it provides a good opportunity to do a tick check.
- Check your body for ticks after being outdoors. Conduct a full body check upon return from potentially tick-infested areas. Use a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body, including:
- Under the arms
- In and around the ears
- Inside belly button
- Back of the knees
- In and around the hair
- Between the legs
- Around the waist