How to Protect Yourself from Ticks

When you’re working around tall grass or densely planted trees, take precautions against ticks.

Protect yourself. Wear a hat, a long-sleeved shirt, lace-up shoes or boots, and long pants with the cuffs tucked into your socks. Spray your clothes with tick repellent and wear light colors to make detecting ticks easier.

Check yourself often. Look over your clothing frequently while gardening and check your body thoroughly once you finish. Deer ticks are tiny and hard to spot; dog ticks are larger—about the size of a match head. Both like to burrow in along your hairline or other moist places, such as under the waistband of your pants.

If you get bitten, remove the tick immediately—but don’t bother trying to make it withdraw with oil, alcohol, salt, or a flame. Instead, use tweezers to grasp it as close to your skin as possible, then gently pull. Be careful not to squeeze its body, which could release fluids.Try to remove the tick with its mouthparts intact.

Treat a bite. Wash the bite with antibacterial soap and swab it with iodine or hydrogen peroxide; it may take weeks to heal.

Keep any tick you remove in a tightly closed jar. If you develop any signs of a tickborne disease— a headache, a dark ring around the bite, or other unusual symptoms— see a doctor immediately. Lyme disease and other tick transmitted illnesses are highly treatable when caught early.

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