6 Ways to Protect Yourself from Ticks

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We love summer, but creepy crawlies? No thank you. Unfortunately, the crazy winter (we still can’t believe it’s finally over!) and wet spring has created ideal conditions for ticks. And the University of Rhode Island, which operates the Tick Encounter Resource Center, just placed its tick alert at red, the highest level, for the entire Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region.

“A lot of people aren't that familiar with tick lifecycles,” says Greg Carbone, a certified deer tick control expert. “The nymph stage is active from late May through July but they are small—just the size of poppy seeds—so they can go unnoticed.” Even more: Most cases of Lyme disease happen in the summer. Stop ticks in their tracks, though, and you’ll steer clear of any problems. Here, six ways to do it.

Do Mice Control
We think of deer as the main carriers of Lyme-infected ticks, says Carbone. But it is actually mice (which are in almost every backyard!) that are the most frequent hosts!

Check Hotspots
Ticks can attach anywhere on your skin, but their favorite spots are the back of your knees, around waistbands, under armpits, or any other constricted place. Make sure to check every night. Once attached, ticks do not wash off in the shower.

Cover Up
Ticks cannot jump—in most cases they will crawl up from the ground onto you. Wear light colored sneakers and high socks if you can, that way the critters will be easy to spot and brush off.

Turn Up the Heat
Put your clothing in the dryer on high heat for an hour to kill any ticks that you might have missed. They can survive the washing machine, so the dryer is a must.

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Use Two Repellents
Most of us spritz ourselves with DEET and call it a day. Why that doesn’t work: DEET only works on your skin. Using a spray with Permethrin, a clothing-only repellent, kills ticks on contact before they even have a chance to reach a spot where they could attach.

Treat Your Pet
The most popular tick bite prevention products for pets are sprays and spot-ons. These products, when regularly applied, keep your pet from bringing in ticks that may pose a risk to you or your family members.

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