Protect yourself from ticks with insect-repellent clothing
By Mary Collins, Insect Shield
Avoiding tick bites is the number one thing you can do to protect yourself from the many diseases ticks carry. Using permethrin and permethrin-treated clothing is the easiest and most effective way to avoid ticks.
Permethrin-treated clothing has been available in the USA since 2003 and do-it-yourself permethrin sprays have been on the market since 1977. They are EPA registered and have excellent safety records.
However, some people are wary to wear insect repellent clothing.
A typical comment we hear is : “Yuck, why would I wear insect repellent clothing? Insect repellent is sticky and smelly.“ We couldn’t agree more! The beauty of permethrin-treated clothing is that it is neither sticky nor smelly and you don’t even know it’s there, but the bugs sure do.
It stays on the clothes, not on your skin
An easy way to think about permethrin-treated clothing is to think of the dye in your favorite red t-shirt. Do you worry about the dye coming off onto your skin or hurting you in some way? Most likely you do not and you don’t need to. Insect repellent clothing is same – the repellent is bonded to the fabric fibers, so it stays on the clothes, not on your skin.
With permethrin-treated apparel, there is no need for continued reapplication. Other benefits are there is no chance of ingestion, eye irritation or ways to misuse the product.
For folks that want to use the do-it-yourself spray, their concern is based on labeling: “I bought a can of permethrin spray to use for my shoes and it says not to use on bare skin.” So it must be dangerous if it can’t even touch my skin?”
That does indeed sound scary, but the reasoning for that caution is not about danger, but effectiveness.
Permethrin for insect protection needs something to hold onto (like fabric) to work and last through multiple wearings. Human skin is too porous to hold the permethrin on the surface so there will be no long lasting repellent effect.
Liquid repellents that are made to go on the skin typically have some sort of petroleum base that keeps them from absorbing for at least a few hours. That is why you have to continually reapply.
Still worried about permethrin on the skin? In some instances, permethrin is actually used specifically on the skin in applications such as lice shampoo and scabies lotion.
Permethrin is by far the best repellent to use against ticks. Dr. Thomas Mather of the University of Rhode Island’s Tick Encounter Resource Center recommends “Clothing-only repellents that contain permethrin are very effective and provide long-lasting protection. The best protection you can achieve is by using a repellent that contains permethrin on your clothes and one that contains DEET for your skin.”
It is also important to know where ticks are so you can best avoid them – ticks start low and crawl up. Ticks do not jump, fall from trees or fly – ticks are on the ground and/or on tall grasses.
Since ticks are low, it is critical to protect the lower part of the body. Spraying your shoes with permethrin and wearing pre-treated permethrin socks are the two most important things you can do to keep ticks away.
Don’t forget the backpack
If you wear a backpack, it is important to treat that too. People forget that when a bag goes on the ground and if there are ticks nearby, they may just hop on looking for a ride to the closest person. As soon as that bag goes on your back, so do the ticks.
Insect repellent clothing is a game changer in tick prevention. It is registered for use for the entire family. That means infants, women who are pregnant or nursing and even your pets can use permethrin-treated products.
Insect Shield offers many pre-treated products and also has over 80 brand partners globally that sell a variety of products – including shirts, pants, socks, hats, tents, blankets and dog products. We also have our Insect Shield Your Own Clothes service where you can send in your favorite clothes and we will add the repellent for you – a super easy solution.
Insect Shield is a proud partner of LymeDisease.org. We support their efforts in helping the many people that are afflicted with this damaging and often life-changing disease.
Our goal is to help keep the ticks away so people can still enjoy the outdoors without worrying about the many potential dangers that ticks can carry. Insect Shield donates 10% of all purchases made through this link to LymeDisease.org.
Use coupon code LYMEDISEASEORG on InsectShield.com to receive 15% off your first purchase.
Mary Collins is International Business Development Manager for Insect Shield.