Australian Government Department of Health
How to prevent tick bites?
The best way to prevent tick bites is to avoid tick-infested areas.
If this is not possible, wear appropriate clothing such as:
– a long sleeved shirt
– long pants tucked into socks
– light coloured clothing to make it easier to see ticks on clothes before they attach to the skin
Before entering possible tick infected environments apply an insect repellent containing diethyl-meta-toluamide (DEET) or picaridin to the skin. The repellent should be applied and re-applied according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Clothing treated with permethrin is also recommended.
Permethrin wash kits for treating clothes can be obtained from outdoor recreational stores and it is important to follow the label directions. Permethrin-treated clothing is considered the most effective means of preventing tick bite in tick infested areas.
All clothing should be removed after visiting tick infested areas and placed into a hot dryer for 20 minutes to kill any tick that could be still on the clothing. The entire body should be then checked for ticks of all sizes and stages, paying particular attention to areas behind the ears and the back of the head or neck, especially on children.
If you suffer from allergic reactions to ticks, only attempt to remove a tick whilst at a medical facility such as an Emergency Department.
In non-allergic individuals or for larval or nymphal stage ticks:
When removing a tick with fine tipped forceps (not household tweezers unless fine tipped forceps are not available), grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible. Pull upwards with steady pressure and avoid jerking or twisting the tick.
Prior to removal, the tick may be sprayed with an aerosol insect repellent containing pyrethrin or a pyrethroid chemical, although there is currently no evidence to suggest that this is of benefit. Permethrin based creams, which are available from chemists may also be used. Apply at least twice with a one minute interval between applications.
If you have difficulty removing the tick or suffer any symptoms after removal, seek medical attention urgently.
Use only fine tipped forceps and avoid squeezing the body of the tick.
Don’t use folklore remedies such as matches or pins because they will irritate the tick and make it harder to completely remove.
Avoid scratching and do not use irritant chemicals such as methylated spirits or kerosene.