Let’s face it. We live in New England with woods and nature all around us. Unless you live in a bubble, you are going to be exposed to the dangers of ticks at some time in your life. Thankfully there are some steps that you can take to prevent the spread of tick borne diseases. Let’s look at some personal protection techniques that you can use on you and your family so that you do not become one of the 30,000 people diagnosed with Lyme this year.
If you spend anytime outdoors this spring and summer it is best to get into the habit of following some preventative steps to protect yourself against ticks. This does not just mean just day hikers or campers either. A day at the park, a night at the ball field or just a walk can expose you to ticks.
- Dress for ticks – Wear light colored clothes so you can spot ticks that may be taking a ride along with you. If you are going deep in the woods wear long pants and sleeves to protect against skin exposure. You may also want to consider tucking your pants into your socks.
- Use Repellant – Apply permethrin to clothing, hiking boots, tents, and camp chairs. Permethrin products should never be used on skin. It remains effective on clothing through several washings. Permethrin is sold under the names Permanone and Duranon. (Source About Online and CDC) Use DEET products on skin and clothing. Repellents containing 20% or more DEET can protect up to several hours.
- Check daily – Check your skin and clothing daily after being outdoors. Ticks may be carried into the house on clothing and later find their way to a host’s skin. Conduct a full body check upon return from potentially tick-infested areas, which even includes your back yard. Use a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body. Some favorite places for ticks include: under the arms, in and around the ears, inside belly button, back of the knees, in and around the hair, between the legs, and around the waist.
- Remove ticks that are found as soon as possible – Follow guidelines from the CDC and the Massachusetts government websites to help you remove any ticks you find. Personal Protection Against Ticks