10 Tips For Protecting Your Family From Ticks

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Ixodes ricinus, the castor bean tick, is a chiefly European species of hard-bodied tick.

With summer in full swing throughout the United States most people are thinking of sunshine, swimming and backyard barbecues. But this year there is also something else you should be thinking about; bugs. Due to the unusually warm winter and the wet early spring in places like the Midwest and Northeast throughout most of the country bugs such as mosquitoes and ticks will be prevalent this year and you need to keep your family safe.

10 tips for protecting your family from ticks - The Everyday Mom Life

It has been reported by media outlets and public health officials that the tick population especially will be reaching record highs this year. For Illinois (Me!) and other areas of the Midwest this is expected to be the worst tick season on record.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cases of Lyme disease have tripled since the 1990’s and the Chicago Tribune cites that some labs are already reporting double the number of positive cases this year.

Not only is Lyme disease a concern, but last week it was reported that an Indiana girl may have died from Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, a tick-born illness, and experts expect to see increased cases of Powassan, a rarer tick-born illness that is said to transmit in less time (think minutes) than Lyme disease. It is spread by Deer Ticks now, which before had not been known to carry the disease. There have only been 75 cases reported in the last 10 years.

So, what can you do to keep your family, especially your kids? Here are a few tips we’ve pulled together from various sources to help you stay safe this summer.




Wear long sleeves and pants when in wooded areas

Many of you may say that summer is a time for T-shirts and short sleeves but this is one of the easiest ways to protect yourselves from bites, especially from ticks. If you’re camping or just spending the day hiking this is something to keep in mind. It’s also one of the easiest and most natural ways to prevent bites.

Stay in the center of the path

No beautiful photographs in tall grass fields this summer. According to the CDC, staying in the middle of a path when hiking or in a field will help to prevent tick bites. Since they tend to live on grasses, being aware of your surroundings can help.


Use bug spray with DEET on your skin

I know a lot of people are incredibly hesitant to slathering anything on their kids’ skin – think sunscreen versus cancer debate – but the CDC recommends this to protect against ticks. They recommend products with 20 percent or more DEET to protect kids and adults for several hours. The American Academy of Pediatrics through healthychildren.org recommends that products for children shouldn’t contain more than 30 percent DEET and does not recommend using the products on children younger than 2 months.

The AAP also advises against using products that combine sunscreen and DEET because the DEET may make the SPF less effective. However, you can layer the products and the CDC recommends you apply sunscreen first and then insect repellent.

Healthychildren.org has an amazing chart that shows various types of repellents, including essential oils, here. Take a look and save it!




Use products with Permethrin to protect outdoor clothing or camping gear

If you plan to go camping or it you are a family that likes to hike together. These products can be sprayed on your sleeping bags, tents and boots. Full disclosure, I’m not really a camping sort of girl but this might be something I end up using on gardening shoes.

Check your clothing for ticks

You can carry ticks into your house on your clothing. While they aren’t like fleas you can still risk other people in your home getting bitten if you snuggle a kid after being outside. If you’re playing outside just take a look when you come in. If you’re actively doing something outside, like hiking or gardening, you may want to strip down and throw everything in the wash. Confession: I totally did this today after gardening. I also made the kids do the same.

Wash clothing in hot water

Any clothing that was worn outside should be washed in hot water and the CDC recommends during on high heat for at least 10 minutes. The dyer kills everything. See my other bug problem from this past fall.

Check your body and their’s

Ticks like warm places to cozy up and sink in. When outside they live in warm, moist places so it makes sense that they look for these same places on you. The CDC recommends checking the following places:

  • Underarms
  • In and around ears
  • Inside the belly button
  • In and around the hairline. (So HARD with long hair!)
  • Between the legs
  • Around the waist area

Other sites have also suggested that you look between their toes, specifically if they are barefoot a lot outside or wearing sandals.

Shower/bathe ASAP after being outdoors

We don’t bathe our kids everyday. (#honestmotherhood) My kids have dry skin/eczema and the bath tub seems to make it worse, but on days where we spend time outside playing – like today – baths are necessary to get the dirt off and double as a check for any unwanted, parasitic hitch hikers. This is also a good time to double check their hair. I’m planning to use the lice comb to check.

Make sure you protect your pets

Just as you can bring ticks in on your clothing, one can hitch a ride in on the back of your furbaby too. Make sure you are using preventative measures for them such as collars, shampoos and spot treatments. And, make sure you remember the date to reapply any of these this year. I’m notoriously bad about this.




Don’t forget your backyard

You can put chemical treatments on your yard that the CDC says will reduce tick population from 68-100 percent. Also, clear any old vegetation, such as dead leaves and grasses.

For more information on tick prevention and how to remove ticks, see the CDC’s website here. All of the AAP recommendations can be  found here. Good luck this summer, friends. May the DEET be with you.

For more tips from The Everyday Mom Life, click here. 



53 COMMENTS

  1. Wow I didn’t realise how bad ticks can be! We don’t seem to have an issue with them in my local area but having said that I can see that camping and hiking would probably be times they would pop up! Great tips 🙂

  2. This is really good advice. It’s important to make sure that you take all the precautions to help protect your family. Ticks are such a headache to deal with but that shouldn’t stop us from enjoying the outdoors this summer.

  3. I recently saw a documentary about ticks where a little girl had one on her head for a couple of days and it started to paralyse her to the point that she could not move her legs or arms. This is a must read for anybody who lives near ticks.

  4. This is so scary!! I’ve never had a tick bite before or my kids but I know some places where we will walk this summer has them! So this is great on what to do.

  5. Ticks are a huge problem down here in Florida. We always have to be careful and be vigilant when spending time outside. Ticks can cause some terrible health problems if you aren’t careful.

  6. I am always checking my girls for ticks. It has really worried me since they have been getting so bad. Love these tips

  7. Ticks scare the heck out of me! I remember one day riding the bus home from school and as we pulled up to my house, my friend pointed out I had something black on my chest. I rushed in and my grandma pulled it off. It was a tick! I have no idea where it came from, but luckily it didn’t affect my health in any way. I can only prepare and be cautious with my kids, in hopes that they don’t experience any tick incidents.

  8. Ahh, ticks scare me! Thank you for these tips on how to avoid them and what to do when a problem arises.

    Much love,
    Ashley | dearash.com

  9. My little guy came home with a tick the other day! We live close to the woods so I find it hard to keep him away from them. Your tips are great though and I’m going to have to give them a try.

  10. I had no idea that it was tick season and how scary that someone died from it that is so sad. Good idea to stay on the middle of the path and wear long sleeved clothing in wooded areas x

  11. I’m so glad that ticks aren’t really an issue to think of over here as they sound like they can be quite nasty x

  12. The joys of summer! I was once bitten by a tick when I was a young girl, but luckily, it didn’t affect my health. That’s one of the reasons why I try to be cautious about protecting myself and my family during this season.

  13. Rally great tips!! I always try to prep and wear the best clothing to help prevent or at least minimize the risk of being bitten by a tick. I didn’t know that hot water was one way to get rid of them if they are in your clothes – that’s good to know!

  14. Great informative post! I worry about everything, my anxiety is awful yet I did not know a couple of these things. For one I thought if you come in without one you are safe. Obviously wrong. I didn’t know they could come in on clothing. I also did not know dead vegetation like leaves could help them, hello yard work!

  15. Ticks were such a concern when I was growing up because I lived in a rural area. Not climbing through the brush and covering your body are really the key things to do when you’re out in the woods.

  16. Oh this is so informative! I am freaking out because it’s the first time in a long time that my area has reported ticks and I really don’t want my dog myself or my new baby get any ticks.

  17. This is the perfect time to ready this! We are about to getting into camping session and I didn’t know I needed to look for a particular bug spray. Thank you for all the tips! I have written them down.

  18. I live in India and Ticks are uncommon here. This sounds so scary .. I am going to be following your tip regardless because prevention is always better. Thanks for sharing.

  19. Those are really great tips to protect our loved ones from ticks. I will definitely do this tips to avoid any harmful effect of ticks into my family.

  20. This is a really helpful post, especially when ticks can cause such big problems. It is nice to know this information and take precautions!

  21. Ugh ticks are horrible! These are all helpful tips – I always use long clothing and socks and close-toed shoes and spray is a must

  22. Great tips here! However I much prefer essential oils which are very effective and don’t have all the chemicals that can be detrimental to kids.

  23. Tick season is one of my least favorite times of year, they totally gross me out! Thanks for the tips to help keep the entire family safe.

  24. This is so important, all of these tips! Especially not forgetting pet protection, not only for the pet, but for the people in case the tick crawls off the pet onto a person. We can’t be too careful, lymes disease is so awful. Thanks for the tips!!

  25. Great tips! Thank you for the wonderful advice. This is really informative and helpful. We need to protect our family from ticks.

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