How can I reduce my risk of tick borne infection?

Ticks are an integral part of the outdoor environment. Although there’s no way to eliminate them completely, you can take certain steps to reduce your risk. So, enjoy nature, but tread with care.

Practice avoidance: Learn about the biology of ticks in your area and avoid areas where and when they most abundant.  Enjoy nature, but be aware what may be looking for you, whether it is a tick, mosquito, or other creature that would find you attractive.

Evaluate your home and landscape: Rodents nesting in the walls of the home can bring ticks and other pests directly into your living space. Take measures to discourage wildlife from exploiting your home, and pursue rational pest control strategies should you have a problem. Select ornamental plants that are not attractive to deer. Keep woodpiles and high grass or brush away from the home to discourage rodents (and their ticks) from thriving nearby. Acaracides (products labeled to kill ticks) can be applied to the property. Certain formulated products are scavenged by mice and will kill ticks that would otherwise feed on those rodents.

Dress appropriately: Clothing can offer you some protection from ticks. By tucking pant legs into socks or boots, you can restrict access of ticks to your legs. Ticks will then have to climb up the outside of your pants to find skin. If you glance downwards periodically, you may then notice these, and then remove them before they reach bare skin.

Use an efficacious repellent or acaricide: Certain repellents can be applied directly to skin or clothing; other formulations that are acaracidal and/or repellent can be applied to clothing. Select a product that contains an EPA-registered insect/tick repellent or acaracide, and use it according to the instructions on the label. When used properly, these products can provide much protection. Consult with your veterinarian regarding what products may be applied to your pets to reduce the risks that they will feed ticks or transport them into the home. Note that some products used on people should not be used on some kinds of pets. Similarly, veterinary formulations should not be used on people.

Check for ticks, and remove them without delay: Check yourself, your family and your pets carefully. The sooner you find and remove ticks, the greater the chance that you’ll reduce risks of irritation as well as tick-borne infection and disease. Exercise a routine nightly tick check (assuming you’ve had exposure to ticks). Save any tick and consider sending it to us for evaluation. Access our Specimen Evaluation Form here.

Contact your doctor: If you exhibit any rash, discomfort or other illness, or if you have any medical questions or concerns, contact your physician. Similarly, if you have your tick evaluated, do share and discuss the results with your doctor.

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