Tick repellant and removal tips by Ray Sahelian, M.D.
March 12 2016

Ticks are the most common arthropod vector, after mosquitoes, and are capable of transmitting the greatest variety of pathogens. For both humans and animals, the worldwide emergence or re-emergence of tick-borne disease is becoming increasingly problematic. Despite being such an important issue, our knowledge of pathogen transmission by ticks is incomplete. Several recent studies, reviewed here, have reported that the expression of some tick factors can be modulated in response to pathogen infection, and that some of these factors can impact on the pathogenic life cycle. Delineating the specific tick factors required for tick-borne pathogen transmission should lead to new strategies in the disruption of pathogen life cycles to combat emerging tick-borne disease. PLoS Negl Trop Disease, 2014. Hard tick factors implicated in pathogen transmission.

Lyme disease is transmitted to humans by the bite of deer ticks which can carry the bacterium Borrelia burgdoferi. The Center for Disease Control suggests defending against Lyme disease by using insect repellent, removing ticks promptly, and wearing socks and long pants when walking in wooded areas and areas with long grass, or avoiding such areas.

Tick removal tips, practical advice
Deb Siciliano, co-founder of Time For Lyme, Inc., a Lyme disease research, education and advocacy group, says: "There are specific steps to follow for tick removal and testing in order to avoid increasing the risk of infection. Time for Lyme offers the following dos and don'ts for tick removal: 1. Don't squeeze or twist the body of the tick; 2. Do use fine-point tweezers to grasp the tick as close as possible to the place of attachment so that you can remove all parts of the tick, including the head; 3. Don't throw the tick away, rather, take the tick for testing; 4. Do save the tick by storing it in a small container or zip-locked plastic bag; 5. Do monitor the tick bite, as well as your general health, for signs of Lyme disease following the infection; 6. Do remove ticks from your pets.

Within an hour of coming inside, take a bath or shower.
Use a hand mirror to thoroughly check yourself from head to toe.
Carefully check children for ticks, looking in the ears, hair, underarms, in the belly button, between the legs, behind the knees and around the waist.
Check any clothing and gear, as well as pets.
Put clothing in the dryer on the hot setting for an hour to kill ticks that may have lingered.

Buzz Away Extreme, a natural insect repellent
According to a new two part study, Buzz Away Extreme, a natural insect repellent from Quantum Health, successfully repelled ticks for 3 hours. The repellent is made from soy bean oil and other natural plant oils. "This is great news for people concerned about Lyme Disease who'd rather use a natural repellent", said company CEO David Shaw. The two part study was performed in a laboratory using the American dog tick. In the first part, a half circle shaped cotton cloth treated with two sprays of Buzz Away Extreme was placed in a control dish next to an untreated cloth. 100% of the ticks were repelled by the product and populated only the untreated side of the dish. The same process was repeated with OFF Active IV, a product made up of 25% DEET, yielding the same result. However, in the second part, a cotton cloth treated with Buzz Away Extreme was placed next to a cloth treated with OFF Active IV forcing the ticks to populate one or the other cloth. In this case, Buzz Away Extreme was significantly more effective at repelling ticks. By the 3.5 hour mark, 84% of the ticks populated the OFF side of the dish, having been more effectively repelled by the Buzz Away Extreme treated cloth. In a previous laboratory study, the Buzz Away Extreme formula was highly repellent to deer tick unfed female adults for at least 2 to 2.5 hours. Approximately 20,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported each year in the United States - mostly in the Northeast. In addition to repelling ticks, numerous studies have shown Buzz Away Extreme's mosquito repelling effectiveness under varying conditions. In one USDA study comparing eleven products, the formula earned a top rating by repelling three common species of mosquito for a mean average of 7.2 hours. In a field study conducted by Canada's University of Guelph, this formula proved to be 92% effective after 3 hours. A low percentage DEET-based formula was only 79% effective 3 hours after application. The recent tick study conducted by North Carolina State University PhD. candidate Brooke Witting.