As we head into the busy season for outdoor recreation, it’s best that we all keep personal protection measures (PPM) in mind. PPM to keep tick bites and tick-borne illness at bay.  The key aspects of PPM involve well-fitting light-colored clothing to keep ticks from getting to your skin and chemical protection if you’re comfortable with that! Long pants tucked into socks may look dorky but will do a great deal in preventing ticks from being able to access your skin low on your body. For those comfortable with sprays, using DEET infused repellents on the skin and permethrin-based repellents on clothing will help significantly in preventing tick encounters (there are also some CDC-approved essential oils for repellence). After you’re done with your outdoor activity, be sure to shower shortly after, wash your clothes and inspect yourself thoroughly. In some cases, you can be looking for a tick smaller than a poppy seed!  If you find that a tick has bitten you, remove it properly and carefully as soon as you can. This will decrease your risk of exposure for illness-causing pathogens. Kill the tick but don’t destroy it (such as putting it in a plastic baggie in the freezer) and if you would like it identified, submit a clear photo on the tick encounter portal at de.gov/ticks, where you can learn more about ticks and tick-borne disease!  ~Jacob Walls, BA (he/him) Environmental Scientist DE Tick Monitoring Program https://dnrec.delaware.gov/fish-wildlife/ticks/

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