When it comes to ticks, the best way to deal with ticks is to avoid them. However, if you do like to enjoy the outdoors, have safety measures put in place, such as treating your clothing and gear, checking your clothes, showering immediately, and examining your body. Here is what the CDC recommends for both avoidance and prevention.
Before going outdoors, it is best to prepare yourself by knowing the habitats, the animals, and locations where ticks would be most commonly found, according to the CDC.
CDC recommendations before going outdoors:
- Avoidance | Ticks have areas they prefer over others, they usually reside in grassy, brushy, or wooded areas, animals are carriers of these parasites as well. If you do spend time outdoors and have hobbies such as camping, gardening, or hunting, you are most at risk of getting them, but even if you don’t do these things, ticks are commonly found in your yard and even your neighborhood.
- Protect your clothes and gear | It is important if you do have these outdoor hobbies or occupations that you protect yourself using a chemical called permethrin, an insecticide, most products only contain 0.5% and are used to treat boots, clothing, and camping gear. There is an alternative if you don’t want to treat them yourself as you can buy gear with the chemical already sprayed on it.
- Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved insecticide | containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE), para-menthane-diol (PMD), or 2-undecanone. The EPA’s search tool will help you find the product that best suits your needs. Always follow product instructions. Do not use products containing OLE or PMD on children under 3 years old.
CDC Safety Measuring When Coming Indoors
- Inspect your clothing | Your clothing is one of the vehicles which ticks grab hold of and travel on. If you find a tick, immediately remove it. Put your clothes in the dryer and set it to tumble dry/high heat, for at least 10 minutes to kill any ticks on your clothing. If washing clothes first, hot water should be used, as the cold and medium temperature water will not kill the ticks.
- Inspect your pet and gear | Both gear and animals are carriers of ticks, they can attach themselves to pets or clothing and then attach to their human host later. Remember to carefully examine all gear as well as pets.
- Shower Immediately | It is recommended that you shower immediately to reduce your risk of Lyme disease. Showers can help knock off any unwanted pests on your body, and since your clothes are off, it is a great time to do a tick check.
According to the CDC, here is the method to do a tick check after being outdoors, especially when in high-risk areas:
- 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
We are in the worst part of tick season. The CDC guidelines will help you not only protect yourself from ticks but avoid them at all costs.