The best way to reduce your risk of tick-borne illness is to avoid being bitten by a tick.
When outdoors in areas where there may be ticks:
- Wear long pants and sleeves. Don’t wear shorts, sleeveless shirts, or sandals.
- Tuck pants into socks or boots, and shirts into pants.
- Wear light-colored clothing to make it easier to see ticks before they attach to the skin.
- Use repellent. Always apply repellents according to the label instructions only. The CDC recommends repellents containing 20-30% DEET for protection against ticks. These should be applied to exposed skin. Permethrin can be used to tick-proof clothing. Always follow the label instructions when using permethrin – it should NOT be applied to your skin or to clothing while you are wearing it.
- Stay on the trail. Ticks are often found in brush, tall grass, or leaf litter. When hiking, walk in the center of the trail. Avoid grassy or brushy areas, and don’t hike off the trail.
Watch a video from the California Department of Public Health about how to prevent tick bites while you are outside:
Page last reviewed: June 23, 2021