2022 is predicted to be a bad year for ticks. Here are some tips to help you cope with tick season and still enjoy the outdoors.
- Walk on cleared trails and stay in the center of a trail to minimize contact with leaf litter, brush, and high grasses where ticks are likely to be found.
- Minimize the amount of exposed skin. Wear thick white socks, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt. Tuck the pant legs into the socks, so ticks cannot crawl up the inside of the pants. Wearing light-colored clothing also makes it easier to see ticks.
- Golfers walking through brushy areas should be aware.
- Apply repellents to skin and clothing. Products that contain DEET can be directly applied to exposed skin and to clothing to help keep ticks away. Permethrin (hunter-grade) products can be applied to clothing/boots/shoes (NOT TO SKIN) and actually kill ticks on contact with the treated clothing. This is usually effective on clothing through several washings.
After outdoor activities, be sure to check your body, children, and pets for ticks and remove any immediately. A tick must feed for at least 24 hours before it can begin to transmit the Lyme disease bacterium.
- 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.
- After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.
- It is important to remember that a tick must feed for at least 24 hours before it can begin to transmit the Lyme disease bacterium.
- Avoid folklore remedies such as “painting” the tick with nail polish or petroleum jelly, or using heat to make the tick detach from the skin.
More information on ticks and preventing tick bites:
Rutgers Cooperative Extension Office