Tips to prevent tick bites

Published 10:35 am Thursday, August 17, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Polk County Health and Human Services Agency shares 7 ways to stay safe outdoors


During the summer, many of us look forward to spending time outdoors. However, it’s essential to be aware of potential health risks, such as tick bites, and take necessary precautions to protect ourselves and our loved ones. Polk County Health and Human Services Agency is here to provide valuable information on preventing tick bites and reducing the risk of tick-borne illnesses.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Ticks are small, blood-sucking insects commonly found in grassy, wooded areas and even our own backyards. Some ticks can transmit diseases like Lyme disease, anaplasmosis and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. But fear not—with some simple steps, you can minimize the chances of getting bitten by these tiny pests.


  1. Wear Appropriate Clothing: When venturing into tick-prone areas, dress smartly. Opt for long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and closed-toe shoes. Tucking your pants into your socks or shoes can prevent ticks from crawling up your legs.
  2. Apply Insect Repellent: Use Environmental Protection Agency)-registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE), para-menthane-diol (PMD), or 2-undecanone. Be sure to follow the product instructions carefully, especially when applying it to children.
  3. Perform Tick Checks: After spending time outdoors, thoroughly check yourself, your children, and your pets for ticks. Pay close attention to areas like the scalp, behind the ears, underarms, and groin.
  4. Create Tick-Safe Zones: Make your outdoor living spaces less attractive to ticks. Keep lawns mowed, remove tall grass, and clear leaf litter. Consider using wood chips or gravel to create a barrier between wooded areas and your yard.
  5. Protect Your Pets: Our furry friends can also pick up ticks while playing outside. Consult your veterinarian about tick prevention products for pets and conduct regular tick checks on them.
  6. Shower After Outdoor Activities: Taking a shower within two hours of coming indoors can help wash away ticks that may be crawling on your skin.
  7. Know the Signs of Tick-Borne Illnesses: If you experience symptoms like fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, or a rash after a tick bite or outdoor activity, seek medical attention promptly and inform your healthcare provider about the tick exposure.


“By following these simple guidelines, we can reduce the risk of tick bites and prevent tick-borne illnesses,” said Geoff Hiles with Polk County Health and Human Services Agency. “Educating ourselves and our community is key to enjoying a safe and enjoyable outdoor experience.”


Submitted by Haley Suskauer