Tickborne Disease Prevention
Before You Go Outdoors
Treat clothing and gear with products containing 0.5% permethrin. Permethrin can be used to treat boots, clothing and camping gear and remain protective through several washings. Alternatively, you can buy permethrin-treated clothing and gear.
Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE), para-menthane-diol (PMD), or 2-undecanone. EPA's helpful
search tool can help you find the product that best suits your needs. Always follow product instructions.
- Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months old.
- Do not use products containing OLE or PMD on children under 3 years old.
Avoid Contact with Ticks and Mosquitoes
- Avoid wooded and brushy areas with high grass and leaf litter.
- Walk in the center of trails.
After You Come Indoors
Check your clothing for ticks.
Ticks may be carried into the house on clothing. Any ticks that are found should be removed. Tumble dry clothes in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks on dry clothing after you come indoors. If the clothes are damp, additional time may be needed. If the clothes require washing first, hot water is recommended. Cold and medium temperature water will not kill ticks.
Examine gear and pets.
Ticks can ride into the home on clothing and pets, then attach to a person later, so carefully examine pets, coats, and daypacks.
Shower soon after being outdoors.
Showering within two hours of coming indoors has been shown to reduce your risk of getting Lyme disease and may be effective in reducing the risk of other tickborne diseases. Showering may help wash off unattached ticks and it is a good opportunity to do a tick check.
Check your body for ticks after being outdoors.
Conduct a full body check upon return from potentially tick-infested areas, including your own backyard. Use a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body. Check these parts of your body and your child's body for ticks:
- Under the arms
- In and around the ears
- Inside belly button
- Back of the knees
- In and around the hair
- Between the legs
- Around the waist
The Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) collects de-identified emergency department (ED) data from most hospitals in the state. The data are reviewed for rates of tick bite related ED visits and Lyme related ED visits. Increases in ED visits related to each of these can be identified to determine when risks are higher and more precautions to prevent tick bites should be used.
Lyme Disease and Other Tickborne Diseases
Tick/Lyme Information for Schools and Camps