Prevention tips from WUPDHD

WASHINGTON – Whenever possible, avoid entering areas that are likely to be infested with ticks, such as wooded areas with abundant leaf-litter and grassy or brush dominated areas. If you are going to be in areas that may be tick infested, there are several ways you can protect yourself, according to the Western Upper Peninsula District Health Department.

Be aware of tick habitat. Ticks prefer bushes, tall grasses, woods and yards. Walk in the center of trails, away from heavy brush.

Wear light colored clothing so ticks can be spotted more easily, and removed before attachment.

Wear long sleeved shirts and pants tucked into socks or boot tops to keep ticks from reaching your skin.

Ticks are usually located close to the ground so boots or shoes – not sandals – are recommended.

Use repellents that contain 20 to 30 percent DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide) on exposed skin and clothing for protection that lasts up to several hours. Parents should apply this product to their children, avoiding hands, eyes, and mouth.

Use products that contain permethrin on clothing. Treat clothing and gear, such as boots, pants, socks and tents. It remains protective through several washings. Pre-treated clothing is available and remains protective for up to 70 washings. Other repellents registered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may be found at cfpub.epa.gov/oppref/insect/.

Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors (preferably within two hours) to wash off and more easily find ticks that are crawling on you.

Examine yourself for ticks frequently when you are in tick habitats. Ticks can be very small and often latch on to your body in hard to see areas. Ticks will move upwards and try to find exposed skin, so check clothing for wandering ticks.

Conduct a full-body tick check using a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body upon return from tick-infested areas. Parents should check their children for ticks under the arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button, behind the knees, between the legs, around the waist, and especially in their hair.

Examine gear and pets. Ticks can ride into the home on clothing and pets, then attach to a person later, so carefully examine pets, coats, and day packs.

Tumble clothes in a dryer on high heat for an hour to kill remaining ticks.

For more information, call WUPDHD at 482-7382 or visit at www.wupdhd.org/