Your Family's Safety
Personal Protection Strategies
- Tick Avoidance. Deer ticks require a damp, humid environment to survive and are most often found in wooded areas and wooded edges, especially in leaf litter and low ground cover. They are usually picked up on the lower leg and tend to crawl up the body looking for a place to attach and feed.
- Protective clothing. Some ticks are very small and difficult to spot, especially the nymph tick. Wearing light colored clothing whenever working or playing in tick endemic areas makes spotting ticks easier.
- Tick repellent. You can substantially increase your level of protection against both ticks and mosquitoes by applying a DEET based or other repellent to your skin, and by pre-treating your clothing with .5% permethrin spray. A single application of permethrin to your clothing can provide up to six weeks of protection, even after repeated washings.
- Daily tick check. The single most important step in reducing your chances of contracting tick-borne illnesses is the daily tick check. Be sure to check yourself, your children and pets after spending time outdoors in tick endemic areas. Use the sensitivity of your fingertips to feel for small bumps, starting with a thorough inspection of the:
- In and around the ears
- Hairline and neck
- Back (full length mirror or partner to assist)
- Belly button
- Entire groin area, front and back
- Between all skin folds
- Behind the knees
- Between your toes
Don't just look...feel...a thorough tick check should take at least 30-45 seconds. And don't be fooled into thinking that ticks are only a concern in the summer months. Deer ticks may be active any time the temperature is above freezing, and peak activity for the adult deer tick is in the fall of the year. Be vigilant.