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July 14, 2022

Tick Safety Tips

If you love outdoor activities, you are probably familiar with the always-present risk of tick bites. Hot summer months are when ticks are most active, hiding in tall grass, wooded areas and brush, making them extremely difficult to spot. Ticks can carry a variety of diseases, such as Lyme disease, Southern tick-associated rash illness (STARI), Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF), ehrlichiosis, and tularemia, so it’s important to be vigilant and perform regular tick checks to keep yourself safe this summer. Today we’ll share some tick safety tips to remember the next time you head out on that hike!

Tick Safety Tips

1. Avoid areas where ticks reside: Though it may be tempting to explore the woods near your campsite, the off-trail stream on your hike, or the field of grass near your soccer game, try to avoid areas where ticks may be present. This includes high grass, wooded areas, areas where there is a lot of leaf litter, and dense brush. If you’re hiking on a trail, stay on the center of the trail, where there is less tree overhang and heavy brush.

2. Protect yourself with the right clothing and gear: Ticks are hard to spot and especially sneaky. Wearing appropriate outdoor clothing will offer a barrier that prevents them from reaching your skin. Long sleeves and long pants are best if it’s not too hot outside. Wearing socks and boots can also offer more protection. Hats are a good idea to not only protect your head from the sun, but to make it easier to spot any ticks that fall from trees above you.

You can also treat your clothing with products containing 0.5% permethrin, a chemical that repels ticks. Other repellents include DEET, picaridin, IR3535, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE), para-menthane-diol (PMD), or 2-undecanone, which you can use on your clothes and gear to prevent ticks from reaching you.

3. Examine yourself and your pets after being outdoors: Incorporate body and clothing checks into your post-outdoors routine. Ticks can easily be carried inside by latching onto your clothing, supplies, or pets, so make sure to thoroughly check yourself, other family members, and your furry friends before heading indoors. Use a handheld mirror to view hard to reach spots, including under your arms, on the back of your knees, in your hair, around your ears, and between your legs.

When you get home, tumble dry your clothing on high heat to kill ticks quickly or wash in hot water. Remember – only hot water, not cool or warm, kills ticks. Make sure to shower within two hours of coming indoors as well. Showers can remove ticks from your body and help prevent disease.

Symptoms of Tickborne illness

So how do ticks transmit disease? Ticks feed on animal hosts by grasping the skin and cutting into the surface. Throughout their life stages, ticks find new hosts to feed on, and if a previous host had a certain disease, the tick will acquire its pathogens during feeding and spread it to others.

Identifying the symptoms of tickborne illnesses is essential for early intervention. The most common symptoms of disease include fever, aches and pains, headache, fatigue, and rash. Through symptoms evaluation and lab tests, your healthcare provider can identify the best treatment plan for you.

Regardless of where you’re heading this summer, don’t forget about the presence of ticks! Create a habit of regularly checking yourself for ticks if you spend a lot of time outdoors, and if you find one, don’t panic. Remove the tick and monitor any symptoms you may experience. If you have any symptoms, make an appointment with your primary care provider!


Avoiding Ticks | Ticks | CDC


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