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Skin Problems & Treatments Health Center

Tick Bites - Prevention

To prevent tick bites:

  • Apply an insect repellent. Use insect repellents according to the directions on the label, particularly when applying repellent to children.
  • Apply repellents safely. Some insect repellents can only be safely applied to clothing rather than skin.
    • Use a lower-concentration repellent on children.
    • Do not put repellent on small children's hands, since they often put their hands in their mouths.
    • Wash the insect repellent off with soap and water after returning indoors.
  • Cover as much of your skin as possible when working or playing in grassy or wooded areas. Wear a hat, a long-sleeved shirt, and long pants with the legs tucked into your socks. Keep in mind that it is easier to spot ticks on light-colored clothes. If you think you may have a tick on your clothing, put your clothing in a clothes dryer for 10 to 15 minutes to kill the tick.
  • Wear gloves when you handle animals or work in the woods.
  • Take steps to control ticks on your property if you live in an area where Lyme disease is prevalent. Clearing leaves, brush, tall grasses, woodpiles, and stone fences from around your house and the edges of your yard or garden may help reduce the tick population and the rodent population that the ticks depend on. Remove plants that attract deer, and use barriers to keep deer—and the deer ticks they may carry—out of your yard. Treating yards with chemicals that kill ticks (ascaricides) is sometimes effective but exposes you and your pets to chemicals that may not be safe. You may choose to treat your lawn for ticks with nonchemical or environmentally safe methods instead. Call your local landscaping nursery or county extension office for more information.
  • Stay away from tick-infested areas.

For information on how to specifically prevent Lyme disease, see the topic Lyme Disease.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: December 23, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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