TICKS AND MOSQUITOES by Ashley Pavlakos Public Health Nurse, Town of Tyngsborough

     It is that time of year again when ticks and mosquitoes are most active (April-September). As you prepare to go outdoors this season here are a few tips to remember on how to best protect yourself from these pesky bugs.  

     Ticks are known to live in grassy, brushy, or wooded areas. Spending time outside doing activities that are common to where ticks live could potentially bring you in close contact with them. Some examples include walking your dog, camping, gardening, or hunting. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends treating or buying pretreated clothing and any gear you might be using outdoors with products containing 0.5% permethrin. If you choose to apply permethrin to your clothes and gear, please read the instructions carefully and use them in a well-ventilated area. Use     Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)- registered insect repellent containing either DEET, picaridin, IR2535, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), para-menthane-diol (PMD), or 2-undecanone. There is a tool on the CDC website that can help you find the product that best suits your needs (CDC EPA search tool). If you choose to use one of these EPA registered insect repellents, please follow product instructions. Do not use products containing OLE or PMD on children under 3 years old. Lastly, the CDC suggests trying to avoid wooded and brushy areas with high grass and leaf litter. If hiking, attempt to walk in the center of the trails.  

     After spending time outdoors, especially in areas where ticks are more common to be found, it is recommended that you check your clothing and pets for ticks. Please check all parts of your body and your child’s body including under the arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button, back of the knees, in and around the hair, between the legs and around the waist.  

     Mosquitoes are known to live around water. For example, lakes, ponds, swamps, marshes, riverbanks, temporary pools and ponds created by rain or even containers around your own yard that collect rainwater. Mosquitoes can bite in the day or night and can live indoors and outdoors. The CDC recommends using insect repellent that is EPA-registered containing either DEET, picaridin, IR2535, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), para-menthane-diol (PMD), or 2-undecanone. Again, if you choose to use one of these EPA registered insect repellents, please follow product instructions. Do not forget to reapply insect repellent as directed. To help protect babies and children, it is recommended that you dress your child in clothing that covers their arms and legs. You can cover strollers and baby carriers with mosquito netting. It is important to take some time to inspect windows and doors around your home. Make sure screens on windows and doors are free of holes so mosquitoes stay outdoors. To prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs in or near water around your home, once a week, empty and scrub, turn over, cover, or throw away items that hold water. Examples include buckets, planters, toys, pools, birdbaths, flowerpots, or trash containers. You should also check for water holding containers indoors.  

     For more information regarding ticks and mosquitoes, please go to www.cdc.gov/ticks or  www.cdc.gov/mosquitoes