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April 20, 2021  |  Tips & Guides  |  Insect Repellents

The Strategist: The Most Effective Tick Repellents for Humans (and Dogs), According to Science

The Most Effective Tick Repellents for Humans (and Dogs), According to Science

As more and more people are starting to spend more time outside, it is extremely important to be wary of tick-borne diseases. The summer months are when you’re most susceptible, because “as the weather gets better, tick numbers rise,” according to Dr. Thomas Daniels, who studies ticks at Fordham University’s Louis Calder Center. Places to watch out for include wooded areas and patches with tall grass and bushes, explains Dr. Goudarz Molaei, research scientist and director of the CAES Passive Tick Surveillance Program and associate clinical professor at the Department of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases at Yale University’s School of Public Health. It’s important to know that tick bites don’t just happen on the hiking trail. “Close to 75 percent of Lyme-disease cases have been reported from bites that occur in people’s own backyards,” Molaei explains.

Jeffrey Hammond of the New York State Department of Health’s public-affairs office recommends doing “a final, full-body tick check at the end of the day and also checking children and pets” in order to protect against ticks and tick-borne illness. A proper tick check starts with examining your feet, then onto armpits, wrists, knees, and, yes, groin. “Ticks start low and crawl up,” adds Dr. Thomas N. Mather, director of the University of Rhode Island’s Center for Vector-Borne Disease and its Tick Encounter Resource Center. “So if they get to the top of your head, it’s not that they fell out of a tree. Instead, they’ve crawled all the way up your body.” The 11 experts we talked to say the best way to deal with a tick bite is to prevent it from happening at all. Fortunately, there are some solid, science-backed ways to prevent the pests from latching on, including using products treated with permethrin, DEET, and picaridin. Even more fortunately, the experts say that most of those ways remain the same as they have in the years since we first started asking them about tick repellants — though Dr. Rick Ostfeld, a disease ecologist at the Cary Institute, told us that the EPA recently registered a new compound called nootkatone that’s found in grapefruit skin and Alaska yellow cedar trees and “may become a game changer when it comes to repelling and killing ticks.” But the EPA estimates any products containing nootkatone won’t be on store shelves until 2022 at the earliest, so for now, our experts say the products below remain your — and your pet’s — best line of defense for the upcoming tick season. Beneath the repellants, we’ve included the experts’ recommended tools for removing a tick that has bitten you or a four-legged friend.

Continue reading the complete article written by Maxine Builder and Dominique Pariso on the most effective tick repellents here:

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