Personal Protection

The most important consideration in reducing tick encounters is the use of personal protection strategies. By taking a few simple precautions, you can significantly reduce your exposure to ticks.

Avoid Direct Contact with Ticks

  • If possible, avoid tick-infested areas or areas you believe may be infested with ticks.
  • If unavoidable, plan activities involving tick habitat for the hottest, driest part of the day.
  • Avoid walking through wooded and brushy areas with tall grass and leaf litter.
  • Walk in the center of mowed or cleared trails to avoid brushing up against vegetation.

Dress Appropriately

  • Wear light-colored clothing to make ticks easier to detect.
  • Wear long pants tucked into socks or boots and tuck your shirt into your pants to keep ticks on the outside of your clothes.
  • Do not wear open-toed shoes or sandals when in potential tick habitat.

Use Tick Repellents

  • Use products that contain permethrin to treat clothing and gear. Do not apply permethrin directly to your skin.
  • The use of repellents that contain 20-30% DEET on exposed skin and clothing can effectively repel ticks for several hours.
  • Other tick repellents recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) include picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, and IR3535.
  • When using repellents, always follow label directions.
  • For more information see our fact sheet on insect repellents.