Tick-Borne Disease Information for Athletic Teams and Student Athletes
What you should do
- Create a tick-free zone around athletic fields.
- Keep athletic field lawns and pathways well mown.
- Create a tick barrier: install a several-foot-wide strip of wood chips or bark that separates the field or lawn from the brush and taller grasses that may be around the perimeter.
- Limit contact. Stay out of the brush and tall grass at the edges of the fields when possible (avoid retrieving stray balls in the woods or tall grass).
- Educate athletes and families about wearing protective clothing and applying repellent.
- Wear protective clothing. When possible, wear long sleeves, long pants tucked into socks, and shoes.
- Encourage parents to apply insect repellent (after applying sunscreen) that is between 20%-30% DEET before they drop their children off for games and practices. Follow label instructions carefully and reapply only according to the instructions.
- Encourage parents to treat their children's athletic shoes/cleats and socks with the insecticide Permethrin.
- Educate athletes and families about checking for and removing ticks at the end of a game or practice, as well as later at home. video
- The risk of getting Lyme disease is greater the longer a tick is attached. Therefore, doing tick checks is important so that the ticks can be removed before they transmit Lyme disease.
- It is recommended that student athletes do a tick check as a team at the end of practice and do another check when they get home (to check areas covered by clothing).
- How to inspect for ticks:
- Feel your body for ticks because ticks are very small and sometimes aren't seen. By feeling for ticks, you may discover ticks that are in hidden areas such as behind your knee or in your armpit, where you wouldn't be able to easily see them.
- Visual inspections should also be done, looking for very
small pinpoint-sized dark specks that are the nymph stage ticks, as
well as slightly larger adult ticks.
- Especially important areas to check for ticks include
behind the knees, in the armpits, in the scalp, along the waistline,
and in areas of the back. Parents should inspect their child's entire body daily for ticks, paying close attention to the scalp area on
- Removal of a tick within 24-36 hours of attachment can
help prevent disease transmission. If a tick is discovered
unattached on a child, remove it promptly and discard it. If a tick
is attached to the skin, use the following CDC recommendations:
- Use a tick removal instrument, such as a tweezers, to grasp the tick as close to the skin's surface as possible.
- Pull upward with steady, even pressure.
- Thoroughly clean the bite area with rubbing alcohol or soap and
water after removing the tick.