In recent years, New Hampshire has had some of the highest incidences of Lyme disease in the United States. Lyme disease is caused by a bacteria carried by the Blacklegged tick. When a tick bites and embeds its head into a person or animal's skin, it can transmit bacteria. Other ticks, like Dog ticks and Lonestar ticks, carry other types of diseases too; some are fatal - however, to date, local transmission of these diseases has not occurred in NH.
Everyone in New Hampshire is at risk for being bitten by a tick. The goal of Tick Free NH is to raise awareness about the risk of tick encounters and educate about how to avoid ticks and prevent being bitten by one.
Know where to expect ticks. Ticks live in moist and humid environments, particularly in or near wooded or grassy areas. For more detailed information on how to make a tick-free yard, see the state of Connecticut's Tick Management Handbook.
You may come into contact with ticks during outdoor activities around your home like gardening or when walking through leaf litter or near shrubs. Always walk in the center of trails in order to avoid contact with ticks.
Wearing tick-repellent clothing, tucking long pants into socks, having long sleeves, using insect repellent, and staying to the center of paths, is the best way for people to prevent tick bites when they venture outdoors.
An estimated three quarters of all Lyme disease cases are acquired from ticks picked up during activities around the home. Children aged 2 to 13 are particularly at risk.
The best way to protect yourself and your family from ticks is to: Prevent them from being on your body, Inspect yourself, your children, and pets for ticks after being outside, and Remove any tick you find.
For detailed information about tick prevention and control, see Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Avoiding Ticks. Detailed information for outdoor workers can be found via the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) at NIOSH Safety and Health Topic: Tick-Borne Diseases. Learn more about how to PREVENT tick bites.
Wearing tick repellent clothing is the best— and easiest —way for people to prevent tick bites when they venture outdoors. Did you know you can turn your own favorite clothes into tick repellent clothes? Products containing permethrin kill ticks. Permethrin can be used to treat boots, clothing and camping gear and remain protective through several washings.
Permethrin should never be applied to skin; use as directed on the product label. Permethrin is safe for pets when your clothes have dried, but NOT when wet for cats or small dogs. Learn more about protecting your pets from tick bites.
Use a repellent on your skin that contains 20% or more of DEET, which can protect up to several hours. Always follow product instructions. Parents should apply this product to their children, avoiding the hands, eyes, and mouth, with a concentrate of DEET no higher than 30%. For detailed information about using DEET on children, see recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Learn more about how to PROTECT yourself from ticks.
After you come indoors check your body and clothing for ticks. Ticks may be carried into the house on clothing. Any ticks that are found should be removed. Tumble dry clothes in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks on dry clothing after you come indoors. If the clothes are damp, additional time may be needed. If the clothes require washing first, hot water is recommended. Cold and medium temperature water will not kill ticks effectively.
Shower soon after being outdoors. Showering within two hours of coming indoors has been shown to reduce your risk of getting Lyme disease. Showering may help wash off unattached ticks and it is a good opportunity to do a tick check.
Ticks like to crawl up and be in warm places like armpits or below the waist. Conduct a full body check upon return from potentially tick-infested areas, which even includes your back yard. Use a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body.
If you find a tick on your body, your children, or your pets it is important to remove it immediately. To properly remove an attached tick using a plain set of fine-tipped tweezers or a tick removal spoon follow the tick removal steps at the University of Maine Cooperative Extension.
Learn more about how to REMOVE ticks.
- Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin's surface as possible.
- Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don't twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth- parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.
- After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.
- Dispose of a live tick by submersing it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag/container, wrapping it tightly in tape, or flushing it down the toilet. Never crush a tick with your fingers.
- You can submit a tick specimen to the University of New Hampshire for identification. Keep in a sealed container with blade of grass or submerse in alcohol. See IDENTIFY for resources on tick testing.
- If you have had a tick attached to you or your child, remove it and save it and see a healthcare professional. If the health care provider identifies it as a blacklegged tick, you will likely be put on antibiotics immediately. This follows the new 2019 Guidelines for the Prevention, Diagnosis and Treatment of Lyme Disease.
Be Tick Smart
Help keep your yard tick-free with these landscaping tips.
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If your pet spends much time outdoors, a tick check should be part of your daily routine.
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Explore these resources for more information on tick identification and tick testing.
We have collected some sites that offer information on how to protect yourself and your loved ones from tick bites.
The New Hampshire (NH) Bureau of Infectious Disease Control Sections work together to protect the health of NH residents by investigating and tracking reports of diseases that threaten the health of the public.
Wearing long-sleeved tick repellent clothing, tucking long pants into socks, using insect repellent, and staying to the center of paths, is the best way for people to prevent tick bites when outdoors.