Lyme Disease: Tick Removal
Lyme disease tick bites are usually painless, and the ticks are tiny, and so consequently many people are unaware that they have been bitten. Ticks do not survive in hot, dry areas as it causes their bodies to dry. They can be active when temperatures are above 40F even in the winter.
Good Sense Lyme Disease Tick Tips
Avoid brushy, overgrown grassy, and
wooded habitats, particularly in spring and early summer when nymphal
ticks feed. Remove leaves, tall grass, and brush from areas surrounding
work areas or residential areas, thereby reducing tick, deer, and rodent
habitat. When in potential Lyme disease tick-friendly environments, wear
light colored clothing, long sleeves and pants, and tuck pants into socks.
Long loose hair should be covered, braided or tied when venturing into
areas where ticks are apt to be. Spray your clothing, etc. (also see Repellent
Sprays, below). When coming in from outside activities where you might
have encountered ticks, throw clothing into the dryer set on high heat.
This will ensure that no ticks survive on your clothing. Remember to do
a Lyme disease tick check, take a shower and wash your hair.
Lyme Disease Tick Checks
Thorough tick checks should be done daily or when coming in after outside activities when temperatures are warm and you have been in areas that you may have encountered ticks (ticks can be active even on warm winter days). Check dark, moist areas: hair, cracks behind ears, knees, elbows, underarms, crotch etc. (also see Lyme disease Tick Removal, below).
Check your pets for ticks when they come into the house (also see Protecting Animals, below). Wear light colored clothing, long sleeves and pants, tuck pants into socks. Long loose hair should be covered, braided or tied when venturing into areas where ticks are apt to be. Spray your clothing, etc. (also see Repellent Sprays, below).
Lyme Disease Tick Removal
Ticks should be removed promptly. The longer it is attached the higher the chance of disease transmission. Remove it carefully to prevent disease transmission:
DEET products can be used for exposed
skin. Several controlled-release DEET formulations have been developed
which decrease skin absorption and increase protection time. Extended
duration products include 3M Ultrathon, Skedaddle, and Sawyer's Controlled
Release. Concentrations of DEET effective for mosquitoes, especially for
children may not be effective against ticks, so tick checks are vital
(see Repellent Sprays section). Read
United States EPA information on DEET.
These products (Duranon Tick Repellent, Repell Permanone, Cutter Outdoorsman Gear Guard, Permethrin Tick Repellent) usually can be found at sporting goods or garden supply stores. Once dry, Permethrin has a low level of mammalian toxicity, is poorly absorbed through the skin and is rapidly inactivated by the body. Comment: to prevent exposure, do not spray permethrin on clothing on a windy day. Hint: if you regularly do yardwork, you might consider using a set of clothing that you have sprayed with permethrin.
Natural or herbal repellents and other products are marketed for protection against mosquitoes, but are probably less effective against ticks. Applications of plant-derived repellents that might reduce tick attachment are less likely to deter a tick from walking across the skin to an untreated area.
If venturing into tick habitat, a combination of both DEET for skin and permethrin on clothing might be considered. Always follow guidelines for using repellant sprays before applying. Consumer Reports, June 2000, "Buzz-off!" contains worthwhile information on insect repellents.