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Fall Hiking:

Quick Tips to Repel Ticks and Prevent Tick Bites 

1. Walk down the center of the trail
Ticks are usually more abundant on the edges of trails, so walking down the center can help you avoid ticks that are waiting to jump onto the nearest host. It’s also important to understand that the simple act of stepping off the trail to let someone by can increase your risk of a tick encounter. 

2. Tuck in your clothes–ideally, tick repellent clothes
Ticks will attach anywhere on your shoes or clothing and then crawl onto your skin. Wearing permethrin-treated clothing is the easiest way to keep ticks from latching on and crawling up, but whether you are wearing repellent clothes or not, Dr. Mather recommends tucking your shirt into your pants and your pants into your socks.

3. Do a thorough tick check
It’s important to do a thorough tick check on yourself, your kids, and your pets after being in a tick habitat, especially in areas where your clothing binds against your skin, such as your underarms. Learn more about Tick Checks on the Equip-4-Ticks resource center.

Tick Check 101: Perform tick checks from the ground up

Places to check for ticks

  • Between toes

  • Behind knees

  • In the groin area

  • Around waistline

  • In the belly button

  • Inside elbow joints and armpits

  • In and around the ear

  • Around the hairline

  • On the scalp

4. Remove your clothes after being in a tick habitat and put them in the dryer
Putting your clothing in the dryer after being out in a tick habitat can help remove ticks that may be hiding. 

 Best Repellents: Permethrin Helps Prevent Ticks

Because of its long-lasting nature, Dr. Thomas Mather recommends permethrin treated clothing to help repel tick bites. When clothes are treated with permethrin, ticks may grab on, but after a few seconds of exposure, they will generally fall off. You can get a variety of insect repellent clothing that is already treated, spray your own clothing and gear with permethrin spray, or send in your clothes using the Insect Shield Your Clothes program. 

Top Benefits of Permethrin Treated Clothing:

  • Long-lasting

  • Don’t have to reapply it every time you step outside

  • Effective

  • Odorless

  • Invisible

5. Spray your shoes with permethrin spray

Nymphal and larval stage ticks latch on at shoe level, so spraying your shoes with permethrin spray can help reduce tick attachments. Dr. Mather recommends you do this once a month.

Tick Bite Prevention Tips
YouTube Video Link:

About Equip-4-Ticks Resource Center 
Equip-4-Ticks Resource Center, a collaboration between tick expert, Dr. Thomas Mather, PhD and Insect Shield Repellent Technology, was launched to offer tips, informational content, and a comprehensive video library to help the public stay protected from ticks and the dangerous diseases they may carry.

About Dr. Thomas Mather, PhD
Dr. Mather (a.k.a. “The TickGuy”) joined the University of Rhode Island in 1992 from the Harvard School of Public Health and now serves as director of URI’s Center for Vector-Borne Disease and its TickEncounter Resource Center. His research focus is on tick ecology, area-wide tick control strategies, tick-bite protection, and tickborne disease prevention. His research and outreach programs are diverse, including anti-tick vaccine discovery projects, evaluations of targeted tick control strategies, tickborne disease risk prediction, as well as the development of tick-bite protection decision support tools, and social networking strategies for tickborne disease prevention. His work has attracted funding from a wide variety of sources, including the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the US Department of Agriculture, the National Science Foundation, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the US Agency for International Development.

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