Prevention of Tickborne diseases
- Look for ticks in late spring through early fall, when they are most active.
- Limit direct contact with ticks by avoiding wooded and brushy areas with high grass and leaf litter. Also, walk in the center of trails.
- Wear long pants and long sleeves to help keep ticks off your body.
- Tuck shirts into pants, and pants into socks, to keep ticks on the outside of clothing.
- Wear light colored clothing to help spot ticks more easily.
- Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered insect repellents containining
- Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE)
- Paraomenthane-diol (PMD)
- Use repellent on exposed skin for protection that lasts several hours. Always follow product instructions.
- Parents should apply repellent to their children, avoiding hands, eyes, and mouth.
- Clothing may be pre-treated by using products that contain permethrin.
- Treat clothing and gear, such as boots, pants, socks and tents with products containing 0.5% permethrin, which remains protective through several washings.
- Alternatively, clothing pre-treated with permethrin may be purchased.
- To ensure elimination of ticks from clothing:
Courtesy of the California Department of Public Health
- Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors (preferably witin two hours) to wash off and find any ticks that are crawling on you.
- Conduct a full body tick check using a handheld or full length mirror to view all parts of your body upon return from tick habitat.
- Parents should check their 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 their hair.
- Inspect gear and pets for ticks. Ticks can ride into the home on clothing and pets, then attach to a person later, so carefully check pets, outerwear, and day packs.
- Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin's surface as possible.
- Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don't twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth- parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.
- After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.
- Dispose of a live tick by submersing it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag/container, wrapping it tightly in tape, or flusing it down the toilet. Never crush a tick with your fingers.
- If you develop a rash or fever within several weeks of remvoing a tick, see your health care provider.
- Tell the health care provider about your recent tick bite, when the bite occured, and where you most likely acquired the tick.
- Household pets may carry ticks inside the home. Check your pets for ticks daily, especially after they spend time outdoors.
- If you find a tick on your pet, remove it right away. Remove all ticks in the same way you would from yourself.
- Talk to your veterinarian about tickborne diseases in your area. Ask your veterinarian to conduct a tick check at each exam and before using tick control products.
- For more information visit tickborne disease precautions in companion animals visit the American Veterinary Medical Association website.
Residential Property Management
If your home borders wooded and brushy areas, implement one or more of the following landscaping strategies to reduce tick density.
- Clear tall grasses and brush around homes and at the edge of lawns.
- Place a 3-ft wide barrier of wood chips or gravel between lawns and wooded areas and around patios and play equipment. This will reduce tick migration into recreational areas.
- Mow the lawn frequently and keep leaves raked.
- Stack wood neatly and in a dry area; this discourages rodents, on which ticks feed.
- Keep playground equipment, decks, and patios away from yard edges and trees and place them in a sunny location, if possible.
- Remove any old furniture, mattresses, or trash from the yard that may give ticks a place to hide.
- Consider applying pesticides outdoors to control ticks: the use of acaricides (tick pesticides) can reduce the number of ticks in treated areas of your yard. However, you should not rely on spraying to reduce your risk of infection.
If you have concerns about applying acaricides:
- Check with local health officials about the best time to apply acaricide in your area.
- Identify rules and regulations related to pesticide application on residential properties (Environmental Protection Agency and your state determine the availability of pesticides).
- Consider using a professional pesticide company to apply pesticides at your home.
Tick Management Handbook
An integrated guide for homeowners, pest control operators, and public health officials for the prevention of tick-associated diseases.