10 Tips for Avoiding Ticks

Ticks, including those that carry lyme disease and other pathogens, are prevalent in the prairies and woods of Iowa. Taking simple steps to prevent them from attaching to you can support you having a fun, safe time in the woods. Ticks hang out in the foliage. When you brush against them, they get knocked off the leaves and onto you.

Some steps to prevent that from happening:
  1. Wear long pants, shoes, and socks. It creates a physical barrier between your skin and the tick. Light-colored clothing allows you to more easily spot ticks.
  2. Treat your hiking clothes and boots with permethrin. You can also buy clothes that are impregnated with the pesticide. Permethrin is not safe to use directly on the skin.
  3. Use an insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, or similar insecticides designed to prevent ticks.
  4. When picnicking on the ground, use a blanket. When hiking, stay on the trails. Ticks are more common in thick vegetation.
  5. If you enjoy spending time outside with your pets, treat them regularly with a tick preventative. Dogs can be vaccinated against lyme disease.
When you come inside from natural areas: 
  1. Check your clothing for ticks. Wash your clothes in hot water, and dry them on high heat for at least 10 minutes to kill any ticks.
  2. Shower promptly, or within two hours. Check yourself all over for ticks.
  3. Remove ticks when you see them. If a tick has attached itself, grasp it directly behind the head and pull it straight out with tweezers. Avoid squeezing an engorged tick body.
  4. Check your pets when they come inside as well.
  5. If you begin to feel ill or develop a rash related to a tick bite, seek medical attention.
The following resources are available if you would like more information:
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