The main thing you can do, to protect yourself, is a daily tick check, especially on children. Ticks need to be attached longer than 24 to 36 hours to pass on the disease, if they are infected. Tick checks should be done frequently while in a tick infested areas and again after leaving. The best time to check is after a bath or shower, feeling the skin for a tiny, scab like bump. A full body check is recommended including, the scalp, around the hairline and ears, neck, chest, armpits, waistband area, groin, behind the knee and between toes. Also check pets thoroughly when they come in from outdoors. Pets may have ticks feeding, which can fall off outdoors and lay eggs. They may also have ticks crawling on their fur which can then attach to our skin. Also, when going outdoors wear protective clothing. Wear shoes and socks; tick live close to the ground. Wear light colors to see ticks if they are crawling. Wear long pants and long sleeved shirts, if it’s not too hot, and tuck pants into socks and shirt into pants. Wear a hat to protect the hair and if you have long hair, tie it up and put it under the hat.
Wear repellents containing deet when outdoors. Follow the directions carefully. Do not spray aerosols indoors. Apply only to exposed skin and wash off when returning indoors. Try not to apply repellents to face and hands. Sweat can cause the repellents to run into eyes, or mouth and hands or fingers can find their way into the mouth. When walking in wooded or grassy areas, stay in the middle of the pathway. Avoid high-risk areas such as the edges of wood and tall grass fields. Moist, shaded areas may also be risk areas.
Keep the area around your property clear. Remove leaf litter and brush as far away from your house as possible. Prune low lying bushes to let in more sunlight, and rake up any leaves in areas where you or children spend time. This should be done every fall because ticks prefer to live during the winter under leaf-litter.