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Preventing tick bites

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Ticks can carry potentially life-threatening infectious diseases. Most active during warmer months (April-September), they reside mostly in grassy, brushy or wooded areas – putting virtually all outdoor workers in the United States at risk of exposure. If you work outdoors, here’s what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says you can do to prevent tick bites before and after your shift.

Before:
Treat clothing and gear. Use repellent products containing 0.5% permethrin on boots and clothing. Alternatively, you can buy permethrin-treated clothing and gear.
Use a repellent. Use Environmental Protection Agency-registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, 2-undecanone or para-menthane-diol.

After:
Check your clothing for ticks. Remove any ticks you find. Put your dry clothes in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks. If the clothes require washing first, hot water is recommended.
Take a shower. Showering within two hours of going indoors has been shown to reduce the risk of contracting Lyme disease and may be effective in reducing the risk of other tick-borne diseases. Showering also may help wash off unattached ticks.
Do a full body check. Use a handheld or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body. Ticks are most commonly found under the arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button, on the back of the knees, in and around hair, between the legs, and around the waist.

Many tick-borne diseases, including Lyme disease, can have similar signs and symptoms, most commonly fever and chills, aches and pains, and rash.

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