TOUCHED BY LYME: Hot tips on how to rid your clothing of ticks
A high school sophomore–and budding researcher–has discovered important information about ticks.
Sometime in the last couple of years, I listened to a webinar put on by government officials about how to protect yourself from ticks. One point that was prominently made was that after being outside, you should run your clothing in a hot dryer for a full hour. I remember thinking: in the real world, who’s actually going to do that? I wondered if studies had been done at different intervals. Might a half hour do it? What about 15 minutes? I even spent a bit of time trying to track down research that might have been done on that subject, but never came up with anything. Eventually, I kind of forgot about it.
Then, today, to my delight, I saw an article on-line about a resourceful young high school student from Massachusetts named Jacqueline Flynn. As a science project, she geared up in a protective suit, collected ticks, placed them in mesh bags and ran them through the dryer for different lengths of time, with and without wet clothes.
According to the Martha’s Vineyard Patch, after repeated trials, all ticks were killed in only five minutes on a low heat cycle. (The fluff setting didn’t work–you’ve got to have heat.)
Jackie sent the results of her science fair project to state parks officials, who reportedly plan to disseminate her information to field staff throughout their agency.
Good show, Jackie! I hope you win awards for your science fair project. And I hope this is only the first important discovery you make that will help protect people from ticks and the diseases they carry. There’s a lot of work that still needs to be done.
TOUCHED BY LYME is written by Dorothy Kupcha Leland, LymeDisease.org’s VP for Education and Outreach. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.