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.
- 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.