Quick Tips on How to Repel Ticks

Visit the Equip-4-Ticks Resource Center

“The next time you step outside and head to your favorite place to take a walk, if it happens to be in tick habitat, here are some things to think about…”

- Dr. Thomas Mather, Tick Expert, University of Rhode Island Tick Encounter Resource Center

Stepping into the great outdoors offers a refreshing escape but also brings an unseen risk: ticks. These tiny critters are not just a nuisance; they're carriers of serious diseases. Fortunately, there's a way to help enjoy nature's bounty without becoming a feast for ticks. Dr. Thomas Mather, a renowned tick expert from the University of Rhode Island Tick Encounter Resource Center, shares practical advice on how to repel ticks and help prevent tick bites effectively. Discover how simple adjustments to your outdoor routine can safeguard your health, hinting at innovative solutions and strategies designed to help keep you tick-free. Stay tuned for essential tips that promise a safer interaction with the natural world around you.

1. Walk down the center of the trail

Ticks are usually more abundant on the edges of trails, so walking down the center can help you avoid ticks that are waiting to jump onto the nearest host. It’s also important to understand that the simple act of stepping off the trail to let someone by can increase your risk of a tick encounter. 

2. Tuck in your clothes – ideally, tick repellent clothes

Ticks will attach anywhere on your shoes or clothing and then crawl onto your skin. Wearing permethrin-treated clothing is the easiest way to keep ticks from latching on and crawling up, but whether you are wearing repellent clothes or not, Dr. Mather recommends tucking your shirt into your pants and your pants into your socks.

3. Remove your clothes after being in a tick habitat and put them in the dryer

Putting your clothing in the dryer after being out in a tick habitat can help remove ticks that may be hiding. 

4. Do a thorough tick check

It’s important to do a thorough tick check on yourself, your kids, and your pets after being in a tick habitat, especially in areas where your clothing binds against your skin, such as your underarms. Learn more about Tick Checks on the Equip-4-Ticks resource center.

What to Do if You Find a Tick

Discovering a tick on your skin can be alarming, but prompt and proper removal is key. Using fine-tipped tweezers, grasp the tick as close to the skin's surface as possible. Pull upward with steady, even pressure, avoiding twisting or jerking the tick, which can cause parts of the tick to break off and remain in the skin. Once removed, clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.

After removal, sending the tick for testing can provide valuable insights. TickReport offers a comprehensive analysis that includes identifying the tick species, determining the feeding duration, and conducting DNA and RNA testing for up to 25 different pathogens, including those causing Lyme Disease. To use TickReport, simply place an order online, mail the tick in a plastic bag to their laboratory, and receive your results via email. Learn more about the TickReport tick testing process, that not only aids in your own health management but also contributes to broader scientific research.

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