MDC has published their latest advice on how to protect yourself from ticks and tick-borne illnesses.
They recommend that you check for ticks at least every four-five hours, suggesting that infection is more likely to occur once the tick has been attached for several hours – so getting them early is key to reducing the chance of tick-borne illnesses.
Their advice is essentially:
- Cover up. Prevent the bugs from getting on your skin in the first place.
- Use Deet. At least 40%. To put them off considering you as a tasty meal.
- Treat your clothes. Likewise it makes you a less tasty target.
- Inspect. Check yourself regularly for ticks, at least every 4-5 hours.
- Kill any lurking ticks. After being out, tumble dry your worn clothes at a high heat for an hour and then wash them. This should kill and remove any ticks taking up residence in your clothes.
- Shower. Wash off any hiding unattached ticks.
- Carefully remove any attached ticks. Preferably use tweezers or a tick-remover and not your fingers. Pull them out slowly and carefully, and clean the area afterwards.
I disagree with their first point. This is purely a personal preference and not a suggestion, but, I prefer to have minimal and loose clothing (especially when it is hot).
I have found this to be a distinct advantage as I can see and feel the ticks on my skin and remove them before they attach. If I’m wearing long pants I’ve no way to see them and stop them should they get inside my clothing. I certainly don’t trust tucking my pants into my socks (if I ever actually wore them) to stop the blighters from getting inside my clothing!