Safety Tips Animal and insect safety Disease Seasonal safety: Fall Seasonal safety: Spring Seasonal safety: Summer

Like steaks and burgers? Then watch out for ticks

The lone star tick has a single white spot on its back. Photo: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

You probably know about Lyme disease, and that it’s transmitted to humans through the bite of infected ticks. But have you heard of alpha-gal syndrome?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says a growing number of reports are being made about the syndrome. Believed to be transmitted through lone star ticks, it can leave people with a life-threatening allergy to red meat. It’s one more reason to take ticks seriously – particularly if you work outdoors. 

Any tick you encounter has the potential to be infected with bacteria, parasites and viruses, NIOSH warns. Although ticks are most active in the spring, summer and fall months, they can be active year-round in some warmer-weather regions. The agency offers tips for preventing tick bites:

  • Wear light-colored clothing, including a hat, long-sleeved pants tucked into your boots and a long-sleeved shirt.
  • Apply insect repellent that contains 20% to 30% DEET on any exposed skin, and reapply as often as necessary.
  • Consider using Permethrin – a repellent that kills ticks on contact – on your work clothes. (Caution: Permethrin can only be used on clothing, not on skin.)
  • Thoroughly check your clothing and skin every day. Ticks are small and can be hard to see.
  • Wash your work clothes and dry them on high heat to kill any ticks present.

Post a comment to this article

Safety+Health welcomes comments that promote respectful dialogue. Please stay on topic. Comments that contain personal attacks, profanity or abusive language – or those aggressively promoting products or services – will be removed. We reserve the right to determine which comments violate our comment policy. (Anonymous comments are welcome; merely skip the “name” field in the comment box. An email address is required but will not be included with your comment.)