PROTECT YOURSELF FROM TICK BITES
- Remember, ticks can be very difficult to see when you are in nature as they blend in so well with grasses and foliage.
- Avoid long grass, overgrown vegetation, piles of leaves, low hanging branches, sitting on logs and leaning on trees.
- Remove all tick habitat from around the home.
- Always walk on the track when you are in the bush.
- Be tick-aware when you're camping, hiking, bushwalking, in parks and all outdoor activities, especially gardening.
- Remember ticks lurk under piles of leaves where children and pets play.
- Dress to protect yourself by wearing long sleeve shirts, and long pants tucked into high socks.
- Wearing light-coloured clothing makes it easier to see ticks crawling on you and your kids.
- Larval ticks are only just visible to the naked eye. A magnifying glass makes it easier to see them, and TickEase comes with a magnifier.
- Ticks tend to live low to the ground. Nymph ticks the size of poppy seeds can latch on to your shoes and crawl up until they find your skin and suitable spot to attach for a blood meal.
- Wear shoes that cover your feet, not thongs, sandals, or bare feet. When bushwalking or gardening, tuck your pants into your socks and wear boots, this is the best line of defence for limiting your exposure to ticks and all vectors.
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat and tuck in your hair if possible.
- Using repellents can be a highly effective way to prevent tick bites and reduce the risk of getting any number of tick-borne diseases.
- Before using always read the directions carefully.
- Repellents quickly evaporate so they may need to be applied more frequently.
- Use a tick repellent such as DEET for skin, and Permethrin spray for shoes and some clothing.
- One of the best preventions for tick bites is to purchase pre-treated Permethrin clothing (active for 70 wash cycles) such as Insect Shield. Insect repellent clothing is also available from Safari Life East Coast. Contact Lyndy Rees
- Should I wear tick repellent clothing? See this site.
- According to a 2017 EPA document 'Repellent-Treated Clothing', the toxicity profile is extremely low for humans. Permethrin has low dermal absorption. As with any insecticide, read the label and use the product according to manufacturer’s instructions.
- Everything you want to know about permethrin-treated clothing. Click here.
- Or you can use a do it yourself Permethrin treatment for clothing (active through six wash cycles), such as Debugger.
- Do not use insect repellents on pregnant women or babies younger than two months old.
- DEET only repels ticks but does not kill them, and even that little protection does not last long.
- Some recommended products containing DEET or Picaridin are Bushmans® and Aerogard Tropical Strength®.
- Available evidence suggests that Picaridin is a less toxic substance to humans than DEET.
- There is a growing interest in the use of natural repellants here are some of the recommended plant-based natural repellents available in Australia.
- Oil of lemon eucalyptus is a botanical-based alternative, and a concentration of 30-40% is recommended. Do not use products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus on children under three years old.
- Ya Mate is an Australian owned and manufactured natural repellent and registered with the APVMA. Click this link to buy.
- To read more about repellents click this link.
- CDC Says Lemon Eucalyptus as Effective as DEET at Repelling Mosquitoes. See article.
Dr Jennifer Graham, associate professor at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, advises that when considering Permethrin use near bodies of water (with fish or other aquatic animals), use the following guidelines: 'click.'
- Keep Permethrin out of lakes, streams, or ponds.
- Do not contaminate water by cleaning equipment or by disposing of wastes near a body of water.
- Permethrin may not be applied when weather conditions favour drift from treated areas.
- Permethrin degrades rapidly in water, although it can persist in sediments.
- Thank you to the Extension Toxicology Network, a pesticide information project of cooperative extension offices of Cornell University, Michigan State University, Oregon State University, and the University of California at Davis, for providing guidance.
CHECK FOR TICKS
- Check for ticks when coming in from outdoor activities.
- Always leave your shoes outside, and check them for ticks, remembering that larval and nymph ticks can be as small as a poppy seed and a challenge to see.
- Ticks often attach to clothing, so take your clothes off and put them in a dryer at high heat for a minimum of 15-20 minutes. The high temperature will kill the ticks, and prepare the clothes for washing.
Article on how to kill a tick on your clothes. by Dr Daniel Cameron
- Coming in from outdoors always do a full body check on yourself, your children and pets.
- Remember your pets can carry ticks indoors too.
- If a tick drops off in your house, it can survive for weeks while waiting for a blood meal.
- When doing tick checks remember your crevasses as ticks like to hide and feed in warm dark places.
- Ticks particularly like:
- The hairline
- Inside and behind the ears
- The back of the neck
- Inside the belly button
- The groin
- Behind the knees
- Between your toes
- The armpits
- Around the waistline
- Under and around waistbands
- Always shower after being outdoors, but remember once attached, ticks do not wash off in the shower.
- Water will not kill ticks.
Note: Typically if left undisturbed while having a blood meal, tick larvae remain attached for about three days, nymphs for 3-4 days, and adult females for up to 7-10 days.
If you have a tick bite followed by a fever, rash including a bull's eye or suffer from anaphylaxis, seek medical attention immediately.