Preventing Tick-borne Disease

Preventing exposure to blacklegged ticks (also known as deer ticks or bear ticks) requires diligence.

  • Campers, hikers, hunters, farmers, and people in outdoor occupations may be at risk in the counties known to have blacklegged ticks.
  • Some people have been exposed to blacklegged ticks in their yard.
    • Especially when the yard has a lot of brush and leaf litter and is adjacent to the woods.

On this page:
Minimizing your risk
Tick removal
More from other websites

Minimizing your risk

Avoid blacklegged tick habitats during the peak time of year (generally mid May through mid July).

  • Blacklegged ticks are found in wooded, brushy areas.
    • Unless you spend time in that kind of setting, simply being in a high-risk county won't place you at risk.
    • You should know whether the areas where you live, work, or play have blacklegged ticks.

Walk in the center of the trail to avoid picking up ticks from grass and brush.

Use a good tick repellent:

  • Products containing permethrin, which are used on clothing, are especially recommended for people who will be spending an extended period of time in possible tick habitat.
    • Permethrin products are marketed under names like Permanone® and Duranon® and are available in stores that sell outdoor gear.
    • Do not use permethrin on your skin.
  • Standard DEET-based products are another option.
    • Use a product containing no more than 30 percent DEET for adults.
    • Concentrations up to 30 percent DEET are also safe for children (according to reports from the American Academy of Pediatrics). Do not use DEET for infants under two months of age.
    • Products containing DEET will also protect you from mosquito bites and mosquito-transmitted diseases.
  • Follow the manufacturer's directions for all repellent applications.

Wear clothes that will help shield you from ticks.

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Tuck your pants into the top of your socks or boots to create a "tick barrier.”
  • Wear light colored clothes to make it easier to spot ticks.

Check frequently for ticks and remove them promptly.

  • Ticks must remain attached for one to two days before they can transmit the Lyme disease bacteria.
  • Some research suggests that human anaplasmosis may be transmitted more quickly.
  • Check the hairline and behind the ears and points of clothing constriction (e.g. behind knees, waist line, and arm pits).

If you live near the woods in an area with blacklegged ticks:

  • Keep your lawn mowed short.
  • Remove leaves and clear the brush around your house and at the edges of the yard.
  • Keep children’s play-sets or swing-sets in a sunny and dry area of the yard.
  • Make a landscape barrier (such as a three foot wide border of wood chips) between your lawn and the woods.

Prevention for pets

  • A vaccine to prevent Lyme disease is available for dogs. However, the vaccine will not stop your dog from bringing ticks into the home.
  • Check your dog or cat for ticks before allowing them inside.
  • Topical tick repellents are available for pets.
  • Talk to your veterinarian about these options.

Tick removal

If you find a tick on yourself, remove the tick promptly.

  • Prompt tick removal is important.
  • If possible, use a pair of tweezers to grasp the tick by the head.
    • Grasp the tick close to the skin
    • Pull the tick outward slowly, gently, and steadily
    • Do not squeeze the tick
    • Use an antiseptic on the bite.
  • Avoid folk remedies like Vaseline®, nail polish remover or burning matches - they are not a safe or effective way to remove ticks.

Watch this 1 minute video showing you how to remove a tick.


More from other websites

  • Tick Management Handbook (PDF: 7,153KB/71 pages)
    Tick management handbook with information on protecting yourself from ticks, The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. Attention: Large file advisory, this document may load slowly. Non-MDH link

Updated Friday, July 11, 2014 at 09:08AM