Can Ticks Get Through Clothes?
As the weather starts to warm, many of us are getting outdoors more frequently and may worry about the risks posed by ticks. While proper use of insect repellents can reduce this risk, some of us may be wondering: can ticks get through clothes?
The Basics of Ticks and Clothing
Ticks are arachnids that feed on the blood of mammals and birds. They often live in or near tall grass or other vegetation and can attach to humans as they brush against it.
Clothing, including long sleeves, pants, and headgear, is an important first line of defense when it comes to avoiding tick bites. Ticks can’t bite through fabric, and if they come into contact with it, the clothing will help keep the tick from attaching and feeding.
What Clothes Can Ticks Not Get Through?
Ticks can’t bite through most fabrics. Tight woven fabrics, such as cotton, are best for keeping ticks away from skin. However, some synthetic and loosely-woven materials, such as nylons and netting, provide little to no protection.
If you are concerned about ticks, you can treat your clothing with insect repellent. Repellents containing DEET, Permethrin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus have all been shown to be effective in reducing the risk of tick bites.
What Else Can You Do to Prevent Tick Bites?
In order to reduce your risk of tick bites, there are a few additional steps you should take.
- Stay on cleared paths: Ticks often live in or near tall grass or other vegetation, so when outdoors, stay on cleared paths or other open, flat spaces.
- Wear light-colored clothing: This makes it easier to spot ticks that come onto clothing.
- Wear insect repellent: Insect repellents containing DEET, Permethrin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus help protect the body from tick bites.
- Check your body often: After being outdoors, check your body for ticks and remove them immediately.
Following these steps can help reduce your risk of tick bites even if ticks can get through your clothes.
Clothing is an important and effective first line of defense against tick bites. Most fabrics, including tightly woven fabrics and treated repellents, are enough to block ticks from reaching skin. However, additional steps should be taken to reduce the risk even further. By following the steps outlined above, you can be sure to keep your risk of tick bites to a minimum.