It’s time for Spray Your Clothes Day

It’s Spray Your Clothes Day (photo by Kate St. John)

11 April 2024

There’s a danger outdoors in Pennsylvania’s suburbs, parks and woods. The first step to protect yourself is to spray your clothes in early spring.

The Danger:

When a black-legged tick (Ixodes scapularis) sucks your blood it can transmit a parasite that causes Lyme disease, an illness that can ruin your life for a very long time. Black-legged ticks are especially dangerous in May and June when the tiny nymphs, only as big as a poppy seed, are questing for a blood meal.

Nymph highlighted on Chart of black-legged tick life stages (image from via Wikimedia Commons)

If you don’t think you’ll see a tick in Pittsburgh’s suburbs, city parks and your own garden, think again. Deer don’t carry Lyme disease but they do carry ticks — a lot of ticks — and deer are everywhere.

Deer on Forbes Ave, Squirrel Hill, 7 Nov 2023 (photo courtesy Mardi Isler)

Are there deer in your backyard? There are also ticks.

The Prevention:

By spraying your clothes with permethrin you repel ticks and lower your likelihood of a tick bite. Spray your clothes outdoors in early April on a dry windless day so the spray doesn’t touch your skin. (Read the directions on the bottle.)

Here’s all you need to know about Spray Your Clothes Day activities and how to prevent Lyme disease.

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