Preventing Tick Bites

Protect yourself from Lyme disease and other tick borne illnesses by taking steps to not get bitten in the first place. The following are some suggestions to help keep you safe.

Avoid areas where you might come into contact with ticks

  • Wooded and bushy areas with leaf litter
  • Tall Grass
  • Wear long pants, shoes and stocks, and long sleeved shirts when possible.

Use Insect Repellant on Skin and Clothing

  • On skin use products that contain 20% or more DEET, picaridin or IR3535
  • On clothing, tents and gear use products that contain 0.5% permethrin.  It will remain the items through several washings.  Pre-treated clothes and be purchased that will remain protective much longer.
  • The EPA has an Online Repellent Tool to help you choose the right insect repellent for your needs.

In a report on the effectiveness of insect repellents by channel 7 NBC San Diego Bob Hansen talks about the findings in a study by Consumer Reports.  In their tests Consumer reports found the most effective insect repellents contained one of the following ingredients in these specific concentrations:

  • 20% Picaridin
  • 15 - 30% DEET
  • 30% Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus

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Find and Remove Ticks from your Body

  • Bath or shower as soon as possible after you come in from the outdoors, within 2 hours if possible.  This allows your to wash off or find ticks crawling on you.
  • Conduct a whole body search using a hand held or full length mirror to view all parts of your body.  With children especially be sure to check behind and in their ears, bellybutton, behind the knees, under the arms, around the waist, between their legs and hair.
  • Check your clothes, gear and pets for ticks.
  • Clothes can be tumbled dry on high for 10 minutes if dry to start or up to 60 minutes if damp to kill ticks.  If you need to wash the clothes first, use hot water.

For more information vidit the CDC's Preventing Tick Bites Page: