Tickborne infections - prevention and control
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Several things may be done to prevent the spread of tickborne disease,
including tick avoidance, using personal protection, checking skin and
removing ticks if present, and implementing tick control measures. For more information
visit see the CDC Preventing
Tickborne infections home
If possible, avoid wooded and bushy areas with high grass and lots of
leaf litter since ticks prefer these areas. If you do go into areas like
this, try to stay in the center of a cleared trail to avoid
contact with overgrown grass, brush, and leaf litter.
- Use effective tick repellants and apply according to the label
instructions. The Centers for Disease Control recommends that adults
use repellants with 20-30% DEET on exposed skin and clothing to
prevent tick bites. Again, be sure to follow the label directions
whenever using repellants. For more information on repellants see the
Insect Repellants: Use and Effectiveness site.
- Permethrin is also effective against ticks and lasts for days to
weeks but should only be applied to clothes and not directly to the
- Wear long sleeves, long pants, and long socks to keep ticks on the
outside of clothing. Light clothing will help spot ticks.
- Tuck shirts into pants and pants into shoes or socks to keep ticks
on the outside of clothing. If outside for an extended period of
time then tape pant legs where pants and socks meet so that ticks
cannot crawl under clothes.
Check skin and remove ticks
Perform daily tick checks after being outdoors in areas where ticks
are present, even in one's own yard. Remove any ticks from
clothing, gear, and pets before going inside. Inspect all parts of the body carefully,
especially the armpits, scalp, and groin. Take a shower or bath as
soon as possible to wash off any ticks that are still crawling on you.
Tumble clothes in a dryer on high heat for an hour to kill remaining
Attached ticks should be immediately removed with fine-tipped
tweezers, grasping the tick as close to the skin as possible.
Donít use petroleum jelly, a hot match, nail polish, or other
products to remove a tick. To remove an attached tick, grasp it
with narrow-bladed tweezers or forceps as close as possible to
attachment (skin) site, and pull upward and out with a firm and steady
tension. If tweezers are not available, use fingers shielded with tissue
paper or rubber gloves. Do not handle with bare hands. Be careful not to
squeeze, crush or puncture the body of the tick which may contain
infectious fluids. After removing the tick, thoroughly disinfect the
bite site and wash hands. See or call a doctor if there is a concern
about incomplete tick removal. It is important that a tick be properly
removed as soon as it is discovered.
Visit your doctor if you develop a rash or fever within several weeks
of removing a tick, and describe when and where you may have acquired
To kill any ticks that may still be present on clothing, launder clothes
using hot water and then dry using high heat for at least one hour.
Create tick-safe zones around homes, parks and recreational areas.
- Clear overgrown grass, brush and leaf litter from the premises or
- Use wood chips or gravel as a barrier between lawns and wooded
- Mow lawns frequently and remove cut grass and leaves.
- Keep tables, swing sets, play equipment, etc. away from woods,
shrubs and tall grass. Place in a sunny location, if possible.
- Discourage deer intrusion by constructing barriers and not feeding
- Remove woodpiles or stack wood neatly in dry areas away from
houses to prevent rodent harborage.
- Acaricides (pesticides that kill ticks) may be helpful to use
during spring but a professional pesticide company should be
consulted prior to use.
Apply pesticides outdoors to control ticks. For more information
visit the Environmental
Protection Agency's - Pesticide safety.
- Applying an acaracide (tick pesticide) in the springtime can
greatly reduce the number of ticks in your yard.
- The Environmental Protection Agency and each state have different
rules and regulations related to pesticide application on residential
properties; identify these before pesticide application.
- Consider hiring a professional pesticide company
For additional tick prevention and control information, please visit
the following sites:
Local Health Departments - Regional offices - Tribal agencies
Diep Hoang Johnson
Vectorborne Disease Epidemiologist
Wisconsin Division of Public Health
Bureau of Communicable Diseases
(Phone 608-267-0249) (Fax 608-261-4976)
November 17, 2014