DNR Q & A: How can you prevent tick bites?

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources field staff, resource managers and the DNR Information Center staff answer many questions every day about natural resources topics. Here is one of them:

Q. I’m camping this weekend, and I want to avoid exposure to Lyme disease. How can I prevent tick bites?

A.  Lyme disease-carrying deer ticks are most active during mid-May through mid-July, so it’s important to take precautions when enjoying the outdoors. High-risk areas include hardwood forests, woody/brushy areas and long grass. Here are some tips to prevent tick bites:
• walk in the center of trails to avoid picking up ticks from grass and brush.
• wear light-colored clothing so ticks will be more visible. Check and re-check yourself throughout the day.
• create a barrier to ticks by tucking your pant legs into socks or boots and wearing a long-sleeved shirt tucked into your pants.
• use a repellent containing DEET or permethrin, and carefully follow the directions on the container. Permethrin-treated clothing is also available at many sporting goods stores.
• after being outdoors in tick habitat, get out of your clothes immediately, do a complete body check, shower and vigorously towel dry. Wash your clothes immediately as to not spread any ticks around your living area.
• Check pets for ticks, too.
If you find an attached tick, gently remove it with a tweezers. Wash the area and apply antiseptic to the bite. See a doctor right away if you experience a rash, fever, headache, fatigue or other signs of illness. To learn more, visit the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/insects/deerticks.

— Melissa Warhol, DNR safety and risk supervisor

For more information, call the DNR information line at 296-6157 or go to the DNR Web site at www.dnr.state.mn.us.

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