As the weather warms up, tick season begins. Many employees may find themselves moving to work outdoors, and tick prevention becomes a priority. According to the CDC, tickborne disease cases more than doubled from 22,000 in 2004 to 48,000 in 2016. Ticks are known to cause Lyme disease, but they also cause Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Colorado tick fever, and tickborne relapsing fever.
If you or your employees maintain a facility that includes outdoor work, here are some helpful tips on tick prevention.
- Wear long sleeves, pants, and boots with socks when working outdoors. When you come inside, check your clothes for ticks and tumble dry them on high for ten (10) minutes to kill any ticks that might be on dry clothes. If you wash your clothes first, do so in hot water.
- Any product containing 0.5% permethrin can be applied to clothing or gear and will work as a tick repellent.
- Insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE), para-menthane-diol (PMD), or 2-undecanone that have been U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved can work on your skin to keep ticks away.
- When finished working outdoors, check your skin thoroughly for ticks. If possible, shower within two (2) hours of coming inside.
If you do find a tick, here’s how to handle it:
- Use tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible. Pull upward with steady and even pressure.
- Once the tick is removed, clean the bite area thoroughly with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
- NEVER crush a tick with your fingers. The best way to dispose of the tick is to put it in alcohol, seal it in a bag or container, wrap it tightly in tape, or even flush it down the toilet.