The right way to do tick prevention

By Paula Jackson Jones | Jul 05, 2019

As June comes to a close, and our summer begins in full swing, along with all our outdoor activities, I would be remiss if I didn’t once again remind you of the importance of wearing repellent and preventing tick-borne disease infection. I don’t do this to scare you, but to inform and empower you to make the best possible decisions regarding your outdoor safety. When you prepare to go to the beach or out on the boat, you have a plan. You have things that you check and pack. The same goes for spending time outdoors, whether it is at home in your garden, out walking the dog or going camping. You want to enjoy your time outdoors and not be afraid of having a tick encounter. Or worse, reduce your time outdoors because of your fear of having a tick encounter.

I travel all over the state sharing my personal story of my tick encounter and how it forever changed my life. Sometimes, it takes a life-altering event for someone to change the course that they are on, for them to decide to teach others how to avoid what they have been through. I have had a busy month of June, giving almost 20 prevention talks. Now those people, like the readers of my column, are empowered with information to share with others for outdoor safety. But that is only if you choose to take it seriously. I would ask you, no, plead with you, to take it seriously before you are forced to have to deal with a tick-borne disease infection.

It only takes seconds to put repellent on your skin. If you’re going to be out all day, be sure to use one that lasts all day. Other natural products containing essential oils are effective, but only last four to six hours and need to be reapplied. As always, rinse off at the end of the day and reapply the next morning. Always read the manufacturer's labels, as some products are not safe for children. Choose carefully and apply daily.

Treating your clothing with Permethrin is quick and easy and lasts through six washes. Buying clothing infused with Permethrin lasts through 70 washes. Permethrin binds with the fabric and kills ticks on contact. Wearing repellent on your skin and clothing treated with Permethrin will protect you everywhere you go.

Additional prevention information regarding pets, homes and yards can be found on on the Midcoast Lyme Disease Support and Education website, mldse.org. Doing nothing is like playing a game of Russian roulette when more than 50 percent of all ticks in the state of Maine are carrying diseases.

The best advice I can give you about ticks is, if you don't want them to bite it, treat it!

Prevention is key to staying tick-free and I'm hearing people say that they are not wearing repellent or only spraying the bottoms of their pants. Why?

Wherever you do not apply repellent, be it skin or clothing, is an invitation for a tick to feed on you and transmit disease. By definition, repellents repel ticks. Permethrin kills ticks.

So, think about where you're finding ticks and then ask yourself, "Did I treat that spot with repellent? If it was on my clothing, did I treat that area with Permethrin?"

Some people just won't take this matter seriously until something life-changing or devastating happens to them or to a loved one.

Take this advice from someone who has been through it and who talks to and interacts every day with people and families suffering from the effects of a tick-borne disease.

Don't let this happen to you. It takes seconds to put repellent on your skin. Minutes to pretreat your clothing with Permethrin. The money you spend on repellent, Permethrin or Permethrin-infused clothing is a drop in the bucket compared to the money you will spend fighting for your life.

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