There are precautions that you and your family can take to reduce your chances of being bitten by an infected tick. We believe in enjoying the outdoors…a few smart tips can help keep you safe.
Tick-Check. Every time.
Conduct thorough tick checks routinely after outdoor activity. Check yourself and children for ticks under the arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button, behind the knees, between the legs, around the waist, and especially in the hair.
Prompt and proper tick removal is key to preventing Lyme disease. See this article from the California Lyme Disease Association and Sonoma Mosquito & Vector Control for more information on infection risk and tick removal timeframes.
A warm shower or bath will wash away ticks, particularly in hard-to-reach areas, that have not yet become engorged. You want to remove the tick within 24 hours. Clothes should also be washed in hot water and/or placed in a hot dryer for one hour.
Check Your Pets
Dogs and cats can get Lyme disease. They can also carry ticks into your home, putting family members at risk. Indoor/outdoor animals should be checked regularly. See Pet Infections for more information.
Check Your Gear
Ticks often come into the house on a ride. Check coats, daypacks, and camping gear. Check gear labels to see if they can be placed in the dryer.
Other Prevention Tips
- Walk, Bike, and Run Wisely.
Stay to the middle of trails, avoid long grasses, and refrain from sitting on logs or leaning on trees. If you can’t avoid, be sure to tick-check thoroughly.
- Dress Smartly.
Wear a hat and tuck in your hair.
Wear light-colored clothes. It’s easier to see ticks.
Cover wrists and ankles. Tuck pants into socks and opt for long-sleeves.
- Consider Repellent.
Consider DEET for skin and PERMETHRIN for your clothes. A single application of permethrin to your clothing can provide up to six weeks of protection, even after repeated washings. LEMON EUCALYPTUS OIL is believed to repel ticks and several all-natural organic sprays now exist on the market. Find more information about tick repellents.
- Consider treating your family’s existing clothing with Permethrin. You can send clothing away in advance of summer camps or outdoor trips to offer long-lasting, extra protection against all insects – including ticks. Insect Shield is a company that offers this service at a moderate cost. Click here for order form and instructions. You can also purchase clothing that is already treated with Permethrin from reputable retailers including REI, Columbia Sportswear and LL Bean.
- Manage Your Property. Learn how to create a tick-safe zone at home. Learn more.
Found a tick? Don’t panic.
Follow these links to learn more: