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Take these two actions to reduce tick risk when you are outdoors:
Stay in the Middle of Trails-- "...Humans learn how to walk on their own when they’re about 14 months old but it takes a public health entomologist to offer guidance on how best to walk on a trail to avoid ticks. One way to think about trails is as a pathway–from the safety of the parking lot or open space–heading deeper into tick habitat. Nymph- and larval-stage ticks will more commonly be encountered in the leaf litter that accumulates on the sides of trails than in the middle of the trail; adult-stage ticks are commonly shin-to-knee high on tall grasses and other low vegetation at the trail edge just waiting for a host to pass by. We’re not saying there are no ticks in the middle of trails, just typically far fewer. By hiking in the middle of the path, you’re less likely to get lost, damage plants, cause erosion, run into poison ivy, or pick up ticks." (Credit: Tick Encounter, the University of Rhode Island.)
Tuck in Your Shirt Tail When Adult Ticks Are Active -- "...Adult ticks typically latch on about knee level, while nymphs commonly latch on at shoe level. But ALL ticks tend to crawl upward; so while nymphs crawl upward under pant cuffs, adult ticks will crawl up the outside of pants, then readily continue to crawl upward under an untucked shirt. It only takes these hungry adult ticks a few minutes to crawl up your leg and under your shirt. Once under there, they bite wherever clothing or skin folds obstruct their upward movement — bra straps, underarms, mid back — and it’s really hard to check your back for ticks. Tucking your shirt can help keep ticks from getting in and biting!" (Credit: Tick Encounter, the University of Rhode Island.)
Take these two actions to reduce tick risk when you return home:
Dry Your Clothes First, Then Wash Them-- "...Most ticks are VERY sensitive to dryness. The very first action to take after working in the yard is to strip clothing off and throw it in the dryer. Blacklegged ticks are most susceptible, while American dog ticks, Lone Star ticks and other Amblyomma species are a bit more robust. To be sure each species achieves fatal crispiness, leave clothes in the dryer on high for 10 minutes. In our study, gas dryers got hotter than electric dryers, so you might want to add 5 minutes if you own an electric dryer. Believe it or not, ticks were not killed by washing, even in hot water. Clothing just left in the hamper or on the floor may put the next person to touch it at risk. Dry first – then wash." (Credit: Tick Encounter, the University of Rhode Island.)
Perform a Thorough Tick Check-- "...The simplest way to protect yourself is to remove a tick before it has a chance to transmit disease-causing pathogens. Ticks can attach anywhere, in particular, they will find spots like:
** the back of your knee
** around waistbands
** under armpits
** or any other constricted place
Anytime after you have been in tick habitat you should thoroughly check your entire body and remove attached ticks immediately. Once attached, ticks do not wash off easily in the shower." (Credit: Tick Encounter, the University of Rhode Island).
Tick Prevention: Clothing and Repellents-- the short video below is provided by the New York State Department of Health.