Consumer: Tick dangers in the fall and how to best protect yourself

Deer Tick

You may think your risk of getting Lyme disease ends when the weather starts to cool, but by fall, adult ticks have had more time to become infected with disease-causing bacteria. In some areas, up to 50 percent of ticks can be infected with diseases such as Lyme, compared with only 20 percent in the summer. Consumer Reports tells you how to protect yourself.

The best way to prevent getting infected is to avoid tick bites. Consumer Reports tests the effectiveness of insect repellents. Products top-rated at repelling ticks, as well as mosquitoes, contain either picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus, which are chemically synthesized. They are effective, but they can irritate your eyes or your skin. So if you’re looking for just protection from ticks, Consumer Reports found several “all-natural” products to recommend.

The best in the tests were Cutter Natural, Burt’s Bees Herbal, Babyganic Natural, All Terrain Kids Herbal Armor, and California Baby Natural Bug Blend. They contain ingredients such as citronella, lemongrass, rosemary oil, and geraniol.

Be aware that the natural repellents we tested weren’t great at protecting against mosquitoes, but that’s less of a concern in the fall. Unlike ticks, mosquitoes don’t bite once the weather turns chilly.

There is one good thing about ticks in fall. They are bigger, so they are easier to detect on your skin. And if you do find a tick, use tweezers to remove it. Some new tick-removing devises are now on the market, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that you can remove a tick effectively with just regular tweezers.

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