2022 is predicted to be a bad year for ticks. Here’s some tips to help you cope with tick season and still enjoy the outdoors.
Walk on cleared trails and stay in the center of a trail to minimize contact with leaf litter, brush and high grasses where ticks are likely to be found.
• Minimize the amount of exposed skin. Wear thick white socks, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt. Tuck the pant legs into the socks, so ticks cannot crawl up the inside of the pants. Wearing light-colored clothing also makes it easier to see ticks. If you see any ticks while still outside, remove them immediately before going indoors.
• Golfers walking through brushy areas should be aware of ticks.
• Apply repellents to skin and clothing; read and follow the label instructions.
• Products that contain DEET can be directly applied to exposed skin and to clothing to help keep ticks away. The product label will give details about how to apply the repellent and how to use it safely on children.
• Permethrin (hunter-grade) products can be applied to clothing/boots/shoes (NOT TO SKIN) and actually kill ticks on contact with the treated clothing. This is usually effective on clothing through several washings.
After outdoor activities, be sure to check your body for ticks and remove any immediately. Use a hand-held mirror to thoroughly view all parts of the body. Check children and pets for ticks, also.
If you find a tick on yourself, your child or your pet:
• Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.
• Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers.
• After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.
• It is important to remember that a tick must feed for at least 24 hours before they can begin to transmit the Lyme disease bacterium
• Avoid folklore remedies such as “painting” the tick with nail polish or petroleum jelly, or using heat to make the tick detach from the skin.
If you find a tick and want to get it checked health officials also recommend that you place it in a sealed container with a slightly damp (with water, not alcohol) piece of paper towel. Take the tick to the Rutgers Cooperative Extension at 1623 Whitesville Road, Toms River, to be identified. Tick experts are available from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday.
More information on ticks, and preventing tick bites can be obtained by calling the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Office at 732-349-1246, or visit the Extension Office website at Extension Office website
or by visiting the Ocean County Health Department website at www.ochd.org