From the backyard to the deep woods, tick exposure is a common occurrence. Here’s how to minimize risk of tick-related illness and care for your dog and yourself for safe outdoor adventures.
--Know where exposure is likely. Ticks live in grassy, brushy, wooded, and sandy areas, from backyard leaf piles to lakeside trails, beaches, and forest underbrush.
--Avoid areas where ticks are likely to live, such as trail edges and brushy undergrowth.
--Treat your clothing, gear, and skin with repellents. Apply EPA-registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE) to your skin (avoid eyes, mouth, and sensitive areas) before heading out to a tick-friendly environment. Clothing and gear can be treated with products containing 0.5% permethrin, which will keep its protective action over several washings. Always follow package instructions and do not use products containing OLE on children younger than 3 yrs old.
Note: Always check with your vet and doctor before product use
After Your Adventure
--Check your dog, your clothing and skin, and your gear carefully for ticks. Remove any unattached ticks from clothing, gear, skin, hair, or fur right away. See image for common tick attachment zones.
--Wash clothing in HOT water (cold / lukewarm water will not kill ticks). Tumble dry on high heat to kill ticks on clothing.
Safe Tick Removal
--Your main aims are to remove the tick promptly, to remove all parts of the tick’s body and to prevent it from releasing additional saliva or regurgitating its stomach contents into the bite wound.
--DO save the tick in a container in case a doctor or veterinarian asks for evidence that you have been bitten (label the container with date and location).
--DO NOT squeeze the body of the tick, as this may cause the head and body to separate, leaving the head embedded in the skin.
--DO NOT use your fingernails to remove a tick. Infection can enter via any breaks in your skin, e.g., close to the fingernail.
--DO NOT crush the tick’s body, as this may cause it to regurgitate its infected stomach contents into the bite wound.
--DO NOT try to burn the tick off, apply petroleum jelly, nail polish, or any other chemical. Any of these methods can cause discomfort to the tick, resulting in regurgitation or saliva release.