20% DEET-Based Products Needed for Repelling Ticks
FORT COLLINS, Colo., May 16, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Spring brings welcomed warmer weather when everyone wants to be outside. But, danger lurks in the form of unwelcome insects and ticks that can transmit a variety of diseases to humans. “Ticks can infect thousands of people with a number of serious, sometimes deadly, illnesses including Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Lyme disease, and others,” says Marc Dolan, senior research biologist at the Bacterial Diseases Branch, Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dolan works in CDC’s tick laboratories in Fort Collins, Colorado, and says there’s nothing amusing about the eight-legged blood suckers that have become his life’s work, because of the illnesses they often bring to people, pets, livestock and wildlife.
“Tick-borne diseases are on the rise throughout the U.S.,” Dolan notes. “Everyone needs to take proper precautions to avoid ticks in the woods and, increasingly, right in their own back yards,” he said. “There are a lot of repellent products for use on skin that are registered by the EPA for repelling mosquitoes, but the ‘go-to’ choice for protecting your family from ticks is one that uses DEET as the active ingredient.” Unlike DEET-based products, many natural repellent products require multiple applications and provide little protection.
Here are key steps to reducing the likelihood of tick bites:
- DEET-based repellents with a minimum concentration of 20% remain the primary method of personal protection against tick bites. Apply evenly to exposed skin and spray it on shoes, socks, and pants legs. Always follow label directions. These repellents can be used in concentrations up to 30% on all family members over the age of two months, according to guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
- Do a thorough tick check as soon as you come inside. Some tick nymphs emerge in early spring and may be infected with many diseases they can pass on to you when they bite. These young ticks are the size of a poppy seed and are difficult to spot. Showering after coming indoors (preferably within two hours) is also helpful to wash off ticks that have not latched onto your body. They usually don’t transmit disease until they have been attached for more than 24 hours. “Bottom line: remove ticks immediately when you find them. The longer ticks are attached, the greater the risk of disease transmission,” Dolan says. For tips on tick removal, see http://www.cdc.gov/ticks/removing_a_tick.html.
- If you experience a rash, fever or flu-like symptoms when it’s not flu season and you think you may have been bitten by a tick, seek medical attention. In the case of Rocky Mountain spotted fever, physicians must administer the correct antibiotics as soon as possible in order to avoid serious illness and death. Lyme disease symptoms usually include a telltale bull’s eye rash along with flu-like symptoms. Some patients may develop more serious conditions such as arthritis and infection of the heart and central nervous system.
“Because there are a variety of tick-borne diseases, dangerous ticks can be found in all 50 states,” Dolan says. “They are hard to see and the diseases they transmit can be life-altering and life-threatening. Take all the precautions you can to avoid them,” he urges. For more information on avoiding ticks, on tick-borne diseases, and on disease symptoms, see http://www.cdc.gov/ticks and www.deetonline.org
Editors please note: The visual at this link is excellent to show size and types of ticks, what diseases they carry, and more.
SOURCE Marc Dolan