Dealing with these blood sucking critters is sadly a reality for those of us that work outdoors. Ticks can attach to you when you are walking through or working in forested areas, brush, and high grass. They can carry a variety of diseases that they are able to transmit to you or your pets.
So, what can you do to prevent a tick bite? The best protection is to avoid high grass and wooded areas, but unfortunately this obviously isn’t always an option when on the job. The next best thing you can do is treat your clothing or buy clothing which is pre-treated with a tick repellant that is an EPA-registered insect repellant that is rated against tick bites (remember to only apply in a well-ventilated area if you are treating your own clothing).
Once back indoors
Of course, even using a repellant does not guarantee that a tick will not find its way onto you or your clothes, so here are some other steps that you should take after coming back indoors:
· Check your clothing for ticks and remove any that are found (How to remove and dispose of ticks).
· Shower soon after being outdoors – this can help wash off any unattached ticks, and has been shown to reduce the risk of getting Lyme disease and potentially other tickborne diseases.
· Washing cloths may or may not kill ticks. Many can survive cool water wash cycles. Placing clothing in a dryer for 10 - 15 minutes at high heat, typically will kill most tick species. Most ticks require moisture to survive.
· Check your body thoroughly with the help of a hand-held or full-length mirror. Ticks typically must feed on the host body for upwards to 24 hours in order to transmit a disease so removing them quickly is crucial. The most common areas for a bite are:
o Under the arms
o In and around the ears
o Inside belly button
o Back of the knees
o In and around the hair
o Between the legs
o Around the waist
Recognize the symptoms of a tickborne disease
While preventative steps will greatly reduce the possible risk of transmitting a tickborne illness there is still no guarantee. That is why it can be just as important to recognize the symptoms. Fortunately, many tickborne diseases share similar signs and symptoms:
· Joint or muscle aches and pains
If you know you have been bitten, or start feeling any of the symptoms you should see your doctor immediately.