Tick Borne Disease Prevention
Outdoor workers, student, staff and faculty on campus and in our outlying campuses and field stations are at risk of exposure to tick-borne diseases in our state. Worksites with woods, brush, bushes, high grass, or leaf litter are likely to have higher levels of tick populations. Outdoor workers across campus should be extra careful to protect themselves in the spring, summer, and fall when ticks are most active. Ticks may be active all year in some regions with warmer weather.
Enrolled students for the summer session can be seen at Student Health (students with online classes only should call Student Health at 4646 to confirm eligibility). If a student has an embedded deer tick that has been feeding for more than 24 hours, they should call Student Health at 4646 as well as removing the tick. A single dose of the antibiotic doxycycline can reduce the risk of Lyme from that bite by about 90%. This dose of medication must be taken within 72 hours of removal of the embedded tick to provide protection.
Recommendations for Protection:
- Wear light-colored clothing, including long-sleeved shirts, long pants, socks, and hat when possible. Dark ticks can most easily be spotted against a light background.
- Use repellents (containing 20% to 30% DEET) on your skin and clothing for protection against tick bites.
- If you use Permethrin as a repellent, just use on clothing. Do not apply on skin. Permethrin provides greater protection and kills ticks shortly after contact. If you use Permethrin allows several hours for treating and drying clothes before use.
- Have tweezers available for tick removal.
Avoid working at sites with woods, bushes, tall grass, and leaf litter when possible.
Tuck your pant legs into your socks if possible.
Ticks grab onto feet and legs and then climb up. Tuck your shirt into your pants. So this will keep them on the outside of your clothes, where they can be spotted and picked off.
Check your skin and clothes for ticks often while in tick habitat.
Shower or bathe as soon as possible after working outdoors to wash off and check for ticks.
Check your hair, underarms, and groin for ticks.heck your hair, underarms, and groin for ticks.
After washing work clothes, dry them on hot cycle to kill any ticks present.
Removal – Chances of contracting disease are greatly reduced if the tick is removed within the first twenty-four hours. To remove a tick, follow these steps:
- Using a pair of pointed precision tweezers, grasp the tick by the head or mouthparts right where they enter the skin. Do not grasp the tick by the body.
- Without jerking, pull firmly and steadily directly outward. Don’t twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.
- DO NOT apply petroleum jelly, a hot match, alcohol, or any other irritant to the tick in an attempt to get it to back out.
- Clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.
- Report the tick to your supervisor.