Ticks live in woods, brushy areas, and areas with tall grass and weeds. Children who play on uncleared land or in brush or weeds should be checked closely at least twice a day, especially in the hair where ticks are hard to see. Adults should also examine themselves after being involved in similar outdoor activities. Ticks must be removed as soon as possible to prevent the transmission of possible disease pathogens. Bathe or shower and shampoo hair after outdoor activities to prevent the attachment of ticks.
If found, ticks should be pulled out with tweezers or with fingers covered by a piece of tissue or paper towel. Ticks should not be jerked or twisted, but pulled out with a steady motion. The use of heat, solvents, nail polish, Vaseline or other material to cause the tick to release is not advised. Antiseptic should be applied to the bite area and hands washed with soap and water. Remember to mark the date on your calendar that the tick was found.
General precautions can help prevent tick bites. These include using an insect repellent that can be sprayed on clothes as well as a repellent that can be used on exposed skin. Follow label directions and use extra precautions for children. Other precautions include wearing protective, light-colored clothing tucked in around the ankles and waist, keeping weeds and tall grass cut, and avoiding tick-infested places such as grassy and marshy woodland areas when possible. Stay in the center of paths when hiking or walking through woods.
Pets should be checked for ticks at least once a week, and tick collars, shampoos and other tick repellents are recommended. Oral and topical medications are also available from veterinarians.