by Dr. Bill Rawls
Last Updated 11/01/16
Avoiding areas where there are ticks in the absolute best way to avoid a tick-borne illness. If you decide to venture into tick infested areas, wear protective clothing and use chemical repellants.
Tips for Protection
- DEET is the most effective, but also the most toxic. Individuals with any debilitating disease should avoid use of DEET. (Most pharmacies and outdoor stores now carry natural alternatives that are almost as effective as DEET and not nearly as toxic.)
- Treat clothes (pants) with Permethrin several days before. Apply DEET to pant legs, apply Tick Tock to bare arms. (Permethrin is a synthetic form of natural pyrethrin that specifically targets the insect nervous system and has low toxicity to mammals.)
- Apply Rose-Geranium oil (50/50 with coconut oil) to arms, neck, waist and ankles, wear Permethrin-treated pants and long sleeved over-shirt, tuck white socks into pants and wear rubber knee high rain/work boots and a hat (you could skip the DEET if the boots cover your lower legs).
- If you have been in an area where there are ticks, take a thorough shower as soon as possible and do a full body check for ticks.
- Be extremely vigilant about ticks. When walking or hiking, whenever you brush by vegetation, stop and check for the possibility of a tick crawling up your legs or body. Put on reading glasses if you need to.
- Be aware that pets regularly bring ticks inside. Have your pet regularly treated to reduce ticks and fleas.
For more prevention tips, see Tick Season: What You Should Know.