Tick-Borne Disease Prevention
Contact the Florida Department of Health
Preventing tick bites is the best way to reduce the risk of tick-borne disease. Ticks are present in a variety of environments, but are commonly found in wooded or leafy areas. Depending on the species and the stage of the life cycle, many ticks can be difficult to see. A tick bite may also go unnoticed. Fortunately, simple steps can be taken to help prevent tick bites.
Instructions on tick removal can be found further down the page.
Repellent helps to prevent ticks from attaching to the skin. Repellents containing DEET can be applied directly to the skin and can offer several hours of protection. Repellents containing permethrin can be applied to clothing and shoes and can last through several washings. Always follow product instructions when applying repellent!
Walk in the center of the trail
Avoid contact with vegetation in tick-infested areas.
Shower soon after being outdoors
Showering within two hours of coming indoors has been shown to reduce your risk of being bitten by a tick.
Check your body and your child's body for ticks
After spending time in an area where ticks may be present check your body and your child's body for ticks. Use a hand-held or full-length mirror to check the entire body. Pay special attention to feet and legs, as some ticks are small enough to crawl through socks and into shoes. Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors (preferably within two hours) to wash off and more easily find ticks that are crawling on you. If you find any ticks, remove them immediately.
Check your pets and your clothing for ticks
Ticks can come into the house on clothing and pets. If you find any ticks, remove them immediately. To prevent ticks on dogs and cats, consult with your veterinarian to determine what tick prevention products are recommended for your pet. For additional information on how to prevent ticks on your pets, visit CDC Preventing Ticks on Your Pets.
Prevent tick infestations around your home
Use landscaping techniques to create a tick-free zone. For additional information, visit CDC Preventing Ticks in the Yard.
If you find a tick attached, it should be removed immediately. The longer an infected tick is attached, the greater the chance that it will transmit the pathogen. Ticks should be removed with a pair of fine-tipped tweezers. Grasp the tick as close to the skin's surface as possible. Pull upward with a steady, even motion. Do not jerk or twist the tick. Doing so may cause the mouthparts of the tick break off, or stay attached to the skin. If this happens, remove the mouthparts with the tweezers. Be careful not to squeeze or crush the tick. The tick's fluids may contain infectious organisms. Do not handle ticks with bare hands or remove ticks from pets without gloves or tweezers. After removing the tick, disinfect the bite site and wash hands thoroughly with soap and water. You may wish to save the tick for identification in case you become ill 2-3 weeks after the bite. To do so, place the tick in a sealed plastic bag, write the date of the bite on a piece of paper in pencil and place it in the bag. Place the bag in the freezer.
Other methods of tick removal such as the use of nail polish, petroleum jelly, or heat are not recommended as they involve waiting for the tick to detach rather than direct removal.