Tick Talk

May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month, but it’s not the only time of the year to think about ticks. Whether you’re playing, working, or exercising outdoors, keeping safety tips in mind can help protect you from serious tickborne illnesses:

  • Prep for ticks before you head outside. Use an EPA-registered insect repellent and tuck your pants into your socks, especially if you’re headed into a grassy or forested area. If you’re adventuring with kids, make sure that their insect repellent has is less than 30% DEET.
  • Make tick checks a habit. Once you’re indoors, inspect your clothing and body for any hitchhikers. Make sure you’ve checked in areas where a tick could hide easily, like your hair, behind or in your ears, under your arms, and in your belly button!
  • Remove ticks the right way. If you find a tick, use tweezers and grip the insect as close to your skin as possible. Pull directly up until the tick releases pressure. Then clean the area with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
  • Become a tick detective. It’s important to identify any tick that bites you so that if you get sick, you and your care providers have more information. You can save the tick in a bag or container with rubbing alcohol or submit a tick survey and photo to VDH.

If you start feeling sick or develop symptoms like a rash or fever a few days or weeks after a tick bite, make sure to tell your medical provider that you were bitten by a tick. For more information about identifying ticks and protecting kids and pets, visit VDH’s Don’t let the tick get you sick” webpage.