How To: Prevent Tick Bites

By MDC | May 1, 2023
From Xplor: May/June 2023

Don’t let fear of ticks keep you indoors. Follow a few simple steps to keep the tiny bloodsuckers at bay.

Although ticks can turn up whenever it’s warm, they’re most active in Missouri from April through September. They live in grassy, brushy, and wooded areas, so they’re often encountered when you’re hiking, camping, fishing, or hunting. You might even find ticks in your own backyard.

Dress to Suppress

Wear pants — even in summer — to prevent ticks from easily reaching your skin. Tuck your pants into your socks to make it even harder on the bloodsuckers. Light-colored clothing makes it easier to spot a tick crawling up your arm or leg.

Wear Repellent

Spray your skin and clothing with insect repellent. If you’re outside often, ask a grown-up to treat your clothing with permethrin, a strong but safe-for-humans pesticide. Be sure to carefully follow the instructions on the permethrin label.

Treat With Heat

As soon as you return indoors, strip down and put your outdoor clothes in the dryer. Run it on high heat for at least 10 minutes to kill ticks that might be clinging to your clothing.

Check 1, 2, 3

After showering, carefully check your body for ticks. Though they can attach nearly anywhere, they’re often found on your head, around your waist, under your arms, and between your legs. Have a trusted grown-up help you check the places on your body that are hard to see. Look carefully! Some ticks are itty-bitty.

Unstick a Tick

If you find a tick stuck to your skin, don’t freak out! Use clean, fine-tipped tweezers to grab the tick as close to your skin as possible. Pull out the tick with steady, even pressure — don’t jerk it out! Flush the tick down the toilet then wash the bite site with soap and

hot water.

If You Feel Ill

Ticks can carry harmful diseases. If you run a fever, feel like you have the flu, or develop a rash within several weeks of removing a tick from your skin, let a grown-up know so they

can take you to a doctor.


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This Issue's Staff

Photographer – Noppadol Paothong
Photographer – David Stonner
Designer – Marci Porter
Designer – Les Fortenberry
Art Director – Cliff White
Editor – Matt Seek
Subscriptions – Laura Scheuler
Magazine Manager – Stephanie Thurber