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How To Prevent Tick Bites

Jul 21, 2016


You're more likely to experience a tick bite during the summer months. Ticks are more active and you spend more time outdoors which increases your chances for tick bites.

It's important that you take all precautions to prevent tick bites. That's because ticks carry bacteria, viruses and parasites that can cause various diseases in humans. Among common tick-borne disease are:

  • Lyme disease,
  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever,
  • Babesiosis,
  • Ehrlichiosis,
  • Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness,
  • Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever, and
  • Tularemia.

If you work outside or spend a lot of time outdoors, you're at higher risk for getting bitten by a tick. Here are some ways to protect yourself during tick season.

  1. Protect yourself with long-sleeved shirts and long pants. Tuck your pants into your socks or boots. Light colored clothing is best so you can see ticks on your clothing. You should also wear a hat to keep ticks from entering your hair.
  2. Apply insect repellents that will last for the amount of time you plan to be outside. Follow the product's directions for proper use and reapply as recommended.
  3. Insect repellents should contain 20-30 percent DEET to prevent tick bites. Repellents that contain Permethrin offer greater protection since ticks will be killed on contact. Products that contain Permethrin should only be used on clothing and one application is effective through several washings.     
  4. Consider purchasing clothing that's been pretreated with insect repellants. The effective ingredients will last through as many as 70 washings.
  5. Examine your skin and clothes for ticks after spending time outside. Immature ticks are quite small and may be difficult to see.
  6. Shower as soon as you can after spending time outdoors.
  7. Ticks like to hide in hard-to-see spots. Check your hair, ears, underarms and groin.
  8. If you find a tick, remove it using tweezers. Grasp the tick as close to your skin as you can. Pull the tick's body away from your skin in a steady motion. Clean the bite area with soap and water.
  9. It's important to remove ticks within a day to reduce your chances of becoming infected with the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.
  10. Wash and dry the clothes you wore outside. This will kill any ticks.

If you spend a lot of time outdoors, learn the symptoms of tick-borne diseases. Read this blog post about symptoms of Lyme disease, a common tick-borne illness.

And if you think you are experiencing symptoms, seek medical attention from a tick borne disease center. You can also seek medical care at Long Island hospitals or ambulatory care centers.