How do I avoid tick bites?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)
A bite from a tick can lead to health problems like Lyme disease. Find out how to ward off ticks as Dr. Oz explains in this video.

You can avoid tick bites by:

  1. Wear long sleeves, long pants and tuck your pants inside of your socks, so you don't expose the skin. And, wear light-colored clothing so you can see the ticks better.
  2. Using insect repellant like Off if you're going hiking or camping. The CDC recommends people use repellants that have more than 20 to 24 percent of DEET. You’ll want to spray it all over your body. You can spray it on your hands to apply it to your face, just make sure you avoid the eyes and mouth and use sparingly on the ears and the back of your neck. And, remember to wash your hands afterwards. Children should not handle repellents because they are all toxic. An adult should spray it on their hands and put it on their kids.
  3. Take a shower within 3 hours of being outdoors. If you take a shower within this time frame, you should be able to wash the ticks off your body.
  4. Check for ticks. They love warm areas such as the neck, the skull, under the armpits, brawny areas, the belt area and the back. Ask a friend to check your scalp and back.

Here's your basic, four-point plan to lower your risk of tick bites and Lyme disease:

  1. Use insect repellant with DEET. I'm convinced the benefits of DEET far outweigh the risks—if there are any risks at all. (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that young kids and pregnant women avoid the pesticide. Try oil of lemon eucalyptus or PMD (para-menthane-3,8-diol)—the synthesized version).
  2. Cover up. Wear long sleeves and pants tucked into your socks when in grassy or wooded areas. Light-colored clothing helps you spot any hop-alongs.
  3. Shower when you get home. Ticks don't always bite immediately.
  4. Check your pets. Ticks hidden in your pet's fur and hair can easily infect you—and your pet.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.