Tick counts in Rhode Island are exceptionally high this year—and New England is one of the areas most at risk for Lyme disease. So after being outdoors, be sure to check your clothes, skin, and scalp for ticks. If you have children or pets, check them as well.
- If you plan to be in wooded or grassy areas, wear light-colored clothing, so ticks are easier to spot.
- Wear a hat, long pants and shirts, and closed shoes. Tuck your shirt in.
- Stay away from tall grass, brush, and leaf litter if possible.
- Use tick repellent on clothing. Repellents with permethrin may be used on clothing only (not skin) and last through several washings.
- You can also use insect repellent on skin. Look for one containing 20-30 percent DEET. (Don’t use DEET on infants, and use sparingly on children.)
- If you have a lot of deer in your neighborhood, you might consider having the edges of your yard sprayed by a professional.
- Check clothes, skin, and scalp after being outdoors.
- Check children and pets.
- If you do find a tick, use pointed tweezers and pull gently for safe removal.
- Call your doctor if you think the tick has been attached for at least 36 hours or if you notice symptoms of Lyme disease, such as fever, headaches, muscle aches, or a distinctive “bull’s eye” rash.