Practice Effective Tick Prevention
Protect Yourself from Ticks
The best defense against tick bites is a good offense. Always Be Tick AWARE any time you, your family, or pets go outdoors. Using the right tick repellent correctly is an important first step to prevent tick bites and tick-borne illness, like Lyme disease.
There are a variety of tick repellents on the market today. For most effective tick bite prevention, products with the active ingredients DEET, Picaridin, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE)*, or Permethrin are most effective. The Center for Disease (CDC) recommends using products containing these active ingredients, that are registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Use this Tick Repellent Roundup to understand the various on-skin and on-clothing repellent ingredients and their pros and cons. You can download the Tick Repellent RoundUp Table here
Choosing the right repellents – Things to consider
- How much time do you spend outdoors?
- What are age(s) of those wearing repellent?
- Active ingredients: effectiveness and precautions
- What types of outdoor activities? For example:
- Camping: Permethrin-treated gear and clothing plus repellent
- Hiking: Permethrin-treated clothing plus repellent
- Casual walks: Repellent
- Gardening: Permethrin-treated clothing plus repellent
Tick Repellent Round Up – Applied to Clothing Only
Wear Protective Clothing
Permethrin is an EPA-approved insecticide that is toxic to a variety of ticks. Wearing permethrin-treating clothing will help repel ticks. You may purchase clothing pre-treated with permethrin or treat clothing yourself.
What you should know
- Purchase pre-treated clothing or gear for convenience.
- DIY – buy permethrin from a retailer/hardware store and pre-treat clothing, shoes, socks, and gear before wearing.
- It is important to pre-treat footwear with permethrin for better protection.
- Do not expose cats to wet permethrin as it affects their central nervous system.
- Read and follow manufacturers’ directions.
Important Precautions for Repellent Use:
- Apply repellents only to exposed skin.
- Never apply repellents to cuts, wounds, or irritated skin.
- Do not spray directly onto the face, eyes or mouth — spray into your hands, then apply to face and sparingly around ears.
- Do not allow children to handle repellent.
- Wash hands after application to avoid accidental exposure to eyes or ingestion.
- Do not over apply – heavy application/saturation will not increase effectiveness.
- Upon returning indoors, wash repellent-treated skin with soap and water.
- Always read product labels and follow directions.
- United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
- National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC) – Choosing and Using Repellents
- Centers for Disease Control (CDC) – Protection against Mosquitoes, Ticks, and other Anthropods
- Consumer Reports – Insect Repellent Buying Guide
- Entomology Today – New CDC Tick Study Adds to Promise of Permethrin-Treated Clothing