Landscape workers who are in fields and near wooded areas need to be extra careful to prevent getting bit by ticks. Ticks spread a host of diseases, including Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Here is some advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on reducing the risk of exposure and what to do if exposed.
Before you go outdoors
Know where to expect ticks. Ticks live in grassy, brushy, or wooded areas, or on animals. They can be in people’s yards and landscapes so be careful.
Treat clothing and gear with products containing 0.5 percent permethrin. Permethrin can be used to treat boots, clothing and camping gear, and it will remain protective through several washings. Alternatively, you can buy already permethrin-treated clothing and gear.
Use insect repellents. Only use U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered repellants containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), para-menthane-diol or 2-undecanone. Be sure to follow product instructions.
Avoid contact with ticks. As much as possible, avoid wooded and brushy areas with high grass and leaf litter.
After you come indoors
Check your clothing for ticks. Ticks may be carried into the house on clothing. Any ticks that are found should be removed. Tumble dry clothes in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks on dry clothing after you come indoors. If the clothes are damp, additional time may be needed. If the clothes require washing first, hot water is recommended. Cold and medium temperature water will not kill ticks.
Examine gear. Ticks can ride into the home on clothing and pets, then attach to a person later, so carefully examine pets, coats and daypacks.
Shower. Showering within two hours of coming indoors has been shown to reduce your risk of getting Lyme disease and may be effective in reducing the risk of other tickborne diseases. Showering may help wash off unattached ticks and it is a good opportunity to do a tick check.
Check your body. Conduct a full body check upon return from potentially tick-infested areas. Use a hand-held or full-length mirror to view under the arms; in and around the ears; inside the belly button; the backs of the knees; the scalp and hair; between the legs and around the waist.