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The Center for Diseases Control (CDC) warns that incidents of Lyme disease are up by as much as 10 times over the past years. This is because ticks have spread to more areas in the country due to warmer weather in recent years. If you spend a lot of time outdoors, tick protection clothing may reduce the risk of tick bites and can reduce the risk of tick-transmitted diseases. Treated clothing also protects from other bite insects such as mosquitos, gnats, chiggers, and other little pests.
Repel Ticks with Tick Protection Clothing
Besides good insect repellent, which can be a must in some areas, it is also advisable to wear tick protection clothing including long-sleeved shirts, socks and long pants to keep away these bugs. This protection is incorporated into the fabric by treating the clothing with Permethrin.
What is Permethrin?
Permethrin is an insecticide from the group of Pyrethroids. It is extracted from Pyrethrum and Chrysanthemum flowers. It is an odorless substance that does not stain clothing. It has been used by the US military to treat jungle clothing for soldiers since the 1970s.
Permethrin works by interfering with the nervous system of insects. It has a double effect of repelling insects and killing those that come into contact with it. Studies by URI have shown that wearing Permethrin-treated socks and sneakers can reduce tick bites by as much as 73%.
Permethrin is widely available under different brand names. It is packaged in a spray can for easier application on clothing.
Tick repellent clothing treatment application
You can treat clothes with Permethrin at home using over the counter brands like Sawyer Permethrin Clothing Insect Repellent. Clothes treated at home will provide protection for 3-4 weeks.
If you are treating clothes at home, spray from a distance of 5-6 inches away. You should apply a heavier coat around shirt cuffs and the bottom lining of the trousers as these are the major entry points for ticks.
You can also purchase factory-treated tick repellent clothing. This offers better protection as the permethrin is cleverly bonded into the fabrics.
Is Permethrin safe for use?
As a natural extract, Permethrin is far safer than other over the counter tick repellents such as DEET. Studies on skin absorption show that DEET is absorbed as much as 20 times more than permethrin. For the same quantity, only 1% of the active ingredients in Permethrin is absorbed into the skin. It has been shown that an average human adult weighing 140 pounds can withstand 32 grams of permethrin without toxic side effects. The typical permethrin package contains less than 2 grams of Permethrin which means there are nil chances of toxicity from wearing permethrin-treated clothing.