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I'll Just Go Out To The Wood Pile....

Not many people know this way to tick-proof clothing.

Not so fast! I was reminded Sunday when I sprayed my running shoes, to pass along something that I learned only recently that every suburban homeowner needs to know.

Most of us know or have heard anecdotally how bad Lyme disease can be when left untreated – which can easily happen because it’s not always possible to know when you’ve been bitten. What is not generally known is that there is a class of products that when sprayed on shoes and clothing actually kill ticks pretty much on contact.

It’s available. I believe it’s safe, and if you venture outside almost any time of year except the dead of winter you would be well advised to use it.

It’s called permethrin. That’s the active ingredient, not a brand name (there are several brands). You can buy it in spray or pump form at outdoor stores like REI or on Amazon, and one treatment survives several washes.

Unless you plan to roll in the grass you only need to treat shoes, socks and trousers below the knee (trousers of course tucked into socks) to get incredibly effective protection. I have read studies that described ticks just rolling over dead as soon as they hit the treated fabric.

With the warming weather, now is probably a good time to add one of these canisters to your outdoor arsenal.

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Fritz Photography (Bill Fritz) March 14, 2012 at 09:02 PM
Thank you for this. Very informative and useful. I will be taking this advice since I'm outdoors enough to be concerned :)
Ralph Harrison March 14, 2012 at 10:16 PM
According to the Connecticut Department of Public Health, permethrin "has low mammalian toxicity, is poorly absorbed through the skin and is rapidly inactivated by the body. Skin reactions have been uncommon."[8] Excessive exposure to permethrin can cause nausea, headache, muscle weakness, excessive salivation, shortness of breath, and seizures. Worker exposure to the chemical can be monitored by measurement of the urinary metabolites, while severe overdosage may be confirmed by measurement of permethrin in serum or blood plasma.[9] Permethrin does not present any notable genotoxicity or immunotoxicity in humans and farm animals, but is classified by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a likely human carcinogen, based on reproducible studies in which mice fed permethrin developed liver and lung tumors.[10] Carcinogenic action in nasal mucosal cells due to inhalation exposure is suspected, due to observed genotoxicity in human tissue samples, and in rat livers the evidence of increased pre-neoplastic lesions raises concern over oral exposure.[11][12] Studies by Bloomquist et al., 2002 [13] suggested a link of permethrin exposure to Parkinson's disease, including very small (per kg.) exposures
Diane St John March 14, 2012 at 10:34 PM
Sounds like quite a toxic product to me. Please research ingredients before applying to your body, especially children and know that even if you spray clothes, you breathe it in and touch your clothes, therefore getting the product on your skin. And if you are a child, you put your hands in your mouth and now it's in the body. I would look for a different product!
Janice Despotakis March 15, 2012 at 12:53 PM
Do remember as well that a lot of these studies are accelerated and push the limit for dosing - in other words the test maxes out the dosage. So these could be extreme results. I would use common sense.
Bill porter March 18, 2012 at 11:20 PM
were can you buy it

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