Protect Outdoor Workers From the Increasing Risk of Ticks

Lyme disease and other tickborne illnesses on the rise

May 6, 2019

As your workers return outdoors this spring to perform exterior maintenance and landscaping left undone over the winter, be sure they are protecting themselves from the increasing risk of ticks.

Over the past two decades, scientists have identified seven new tickborne diseases in the United States that can cause illness, Infection Control Today reports. The number of reported U.S. cases of Lyme disease, which is spread by the bite of an infected tick, has tripled since the late 1990s.

Worksites with woods, bushes, high grass, or leaf litter are likely to have more ticks. The U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends outdoor workers take the following steps to protect themselves from tick bites:

  • Wear a hat and light-colored clothing, including long-sleeved shirts and long pants tucked into boots or socks.
  • Use insect repellents containing 20%-30% DEET on exposed skin and clothing to prevent tick bites.
  • Check your skin and clothes for ticks every day. Shower or bathe as soon as possible after working outdoors to wash off and check for ticks.
  • Immediately remove ticks from your body using fine-tipped tweezers, pulling the tick’s body away from your skin with a steady motion.
  • Wash and then dry work clothes in a hot dryer to kill any ticks present.


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