Tick Tips for a Safe Summer
29 Jul 2019
Ticks can be a serious threat to outdoor enthusiasts during the summer months. UGI reminds community residents to be vigilant this summer when it comes to preventing tick bites and tick-borne diseases.
Pennsylvania ranks first for reported cases of Lyme disease in the U.S., with the risk existing in all 67 PA counties. Symptoms include fatigue, neck stiffness or pain, jaw discomfort, joint aches, memory loss, vision problems, and fainting. Use the following tips to prevent tick bites while you enjoy your time outdoors.
Before Going Outdoors
- Know where to expect ticks. If you can, avoid areas where they may live, such as wood piles, long grass, leaf piles, and beach grass.
- Treat clothing and other gear with products that contain permethrin, an insecticide that repels and kills ticks on contact. Products can be found at stores such as Walmart.
- Apply an EPA-approved tick repellent to exposed skin, avoiding the hands and face.
- Wear light-colored clothing if possible. Ticks will be more visible.
- Immediately remove your clothes and dry them on high heat. The heat won’t kill the ticks, but the dryness will—they need moisture to survive.
- Take a shower. This will wash away any ticks on your body and is the perfect place to perform a tick check.
- Examine yourself daily for ticks. Check in and around the hair and ears, under the arms, inside the belly button, between the legs, and behind the knees.
- Your pets can also carry ticks. Check for ticks daily and ask your veterinarian about tick repellent products for your pets.
- “Tick-proof” your yard. Rake leaves, remove pools of standing water, cut your grass regularly, trim the edges around fences, buildings, and sidewalks, control your weeds, remove dead plant material, and treat shrubs, flowers, and any landscape plantings.
- Grasp the tick with tweezers as close to the skin as possible and gently pull straight up.
- Never use gasoline, kerosene, petroleum jelly, fingernail polish, or matches to kill or drive a tick out once it has embedded itself in your skin.
- Use rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water on the area where the tick was embedded. Disinfect the tweezers and wash your hands thoroughly for extra precaution.
- Keep the tick. Visit palyme.org/tick-testing/ for resources on having the tick identified and tested for potential diseases.
Remember, tick bite prevention requires you to take precautionary steps before, during, and after outdoor activities in potentially tick-infested areas. However, with proper precautions and diligence, you can help lower your risk of tick bites and the diseases that they can cause.