Appalachian Trail Conservancy | Insect Repellent Clothing, Tick Protection

Appalachian Trail Conservancy

Project Lyme

Insect Shield is a proud supporter of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. Together we are partnering to spread awareness about tick prevention strategies and how to minimize the risks of Lyme disease.

Ticks can carry several diseases that can have serious health effects. Small, but potentially dangerous, ticks are found along the A.T. and pose risks that all hikers should be aware of! Taking preventative measures can greatly reduce the chance of a tick biting you. The CDC reports 300,000 cases of Lyme disease a year in the United States, and the number of other tick borne diseases is growing.

What are the best ways you can protect yourself from ticks while enjoying the A.T. and when hiking in general? Here are five of our recommendations. Keep in mind, many people never know they are bitten by ticks. Prevention is key!

1. Wear clothing treated with permethrin, which repels ticks. Here are some options:
  • spray permethrin on your clothing, boots, and any gear that touches the ground
  • Purchase pre-treated clothing with Insect Shield from many brands or your local outfitter
  • Send your clothing to Insect Shield and they can treat it for you.
2. For maximum protection, wear long pants treated with permethrin, or bug pants in hot weather. Use 20-30% deet on exposed skin.
3. Conduct frequent tick checks, paying special attention to underarms, behind the knees, scalp, ears, pelvic area, between legs, and belly button. A backpacker should carry a mirror to examine hard-to-see areas.
4. Shower as soon as you can after coming indoors and put clothes in dryer on high heat for 60 minutes to kill any remaining ticks when possible.
5. Avoid tick habitats. Walk in the center of the trail, stay away from brushy areas with high grass and leaf litter, and avoid sitting on the ground or logs. Take rest breaks at shelters or on a ground cloth that’s been treated with permethrin.