DEET, showers, and tick checks can stop ticks.
Reduce your chances of getting a tickborne disease by using repellents, checking for ticks, and showering after being outdoors. If you have a tick bite followed by a fever or rash, seek medical attention.
Gardening, camping, hiking, and playing outdoors – when enjoying these activities, don't forget to take steps to prevent bites from ticks that share the outdoors. Ticks can infect humans with bacteria, viruses, and parasites that can cause serious illness.
Before You Go Outdoors
- Know where to expect ticks. Ticks live in moist and humid environments, particularly in or near wooded or grassy areas. You may come into contact with ticks during outdoor activities around your home or when walking through leaf litter or near shrubs. Always walk in the center of trails in order to avoid contact with ticks.
- Products containing permethrin kill ticks. Permethrin can be used to treat boots, clothing and camping gear and remain protective through several washings.
- Use a repellent with DEET on skin. Repellents containing 20% or more DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide) can protect up to several hours. Always follow product instructions. Parents should apply this product to their children, avoiding the hands, eyes, and mouth. For detailed information about using DEET on children, see recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Reduce Ticks in Your Yard
- Modify your landscape to create Tick-Safe Zones[6.82 MB]. Regularly remove leaf litter and clear tall grasses and brush around homes, and place wood chips or gravel between lawns and wooded areas to keep ticks away from recreational areas, and keep play areas and playground equipment away from away from shrubs, bushes, and other vegetation.
- Consider using a chemical control agent. Effective tick control chemicals are available for use by the homeowner, or they can be applied by a professional pest control expert, and even limited applications can greatly reduce the number of ticks. A single springtime application of acaricide can reduce the population of ticks that cause Lyme disease by 68–100%.
- Discourage deer. Removing plants that attract deer and constructing physical barriers may help discourage deer from entering your yard and bringing ticks with them.
Prevent Ticks on Animals
Use tick control products to prevent family pets from bringing ticks into the home. Tick collars, sprays, shampoos, or “top spot” medications should be used regularly to protect your animals and your family from ticks. Consult your veterinarian and be sure to use these products according to the package instructions.