Consumer report: how to prevent tick bites and what to do if you’re bitten

Consumer Reports

CONSUMER REPORT — As more of us head outside to enjoy the warmer weather, we might come home with an unwelcome reminder of spring weather: a tick. Consumer reports explained why it’s important to take precautions to protect yourself from these dangerous pests.

Along with spring’s arrival comes tick season. In some areas, tick season may have even started in the winter. And by May, they’re in their element and out in full force everywhere.

“Ticks can be found from coast-to-coast, and the number of tick-borne diseases, such as Lyme and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, have been on the rise in recent years. So it’s really important to take the proper precautions,” said Catherine Roberts, Consumer Reports Health Editor.

Depending on where you live, tick activity and the kind of tick will vary, so it’s a good idea to check your local health department for that information. It’s also good to remember that the best defense is a good offense- make it difficult for ticks to bite you. 

That means if you’re out in a wooded or grassy area, be sure to dress correctly.

“You should wear long sleeves and long pants that are tucked into your socks to

keep ticks from getting under your clothing. It’s also a good idea to wear light

colors so it’s easier to spot any ticks that may be on you,” Roberts said. 

Also, before you leave your house, apply an insect repellent to any exposed skin as well as the outside of your clothing. Repellents that contain 15 to 30 percent deet earn most of the top spots in CR’s tests, but CR also recommends some products with 30 percent oil of lemon eucalyptus, or 20 percent picaridin. Two of CR’s best buy options are, Total Home Woodland Scent Insect Repellent, and 3M Ultrathon Insect Repellent8.

When you get home, hop in the shower and check yourself for ticks.

“Showering can wash away any ticks that may be on your skin but not yet

attached, and it’s an opportunity to check your skin for any bites,” Roberts said. 

And if you’re bitten by a tick, don’t panic. Just grab a pair of tweezers and carefully remove it. The sooner you remove the tick, the less chance it will have to transmit disease.

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