Tick repellents & Remedies to stay safe against Tick bites


  • Hammad Ur Rehman Bajwa
  • Muhammad Kasib Khan
  • Saad Salman Khan
  • Nauman Iftikhar
  • Muhammad Rashid Khalid Bajwa
  • Muhammad Uzair Asghar

Tick bites are mostly unnoticed. There are various tick species which are responsible for transmission of life-threatening infections.

Tick repellents & Remedies to stay safe against Tick bitesThese tick-borne diseases include Lyme disease or rocky mountain spotted fever in humans. Tick biting sites appear swelled and pinkish to red colored skin. Sometimes rashes all over the body are seen and accompanied with fever. When tick bites medical attention should be given to the patient, even there are no symptoms of any kind of infection. The people who likes to stay outdoors they must use tick repelling creams or lotions for protection against ticks.

Natural and artificially prepared remedies are used for tick repelling. Some people have allergy to these lotions and creams they can wear full cloths rather than shorts to stay safe from bite or another way is to apply repellent to cloths, because there are various products available in market which are safe to use and impart no harmful impacts on user. We have various examples of natural tick repellents like permethrin and picaridin.

Essential oils are also important in controlling tick-based infections. Common essential oils used are cedar, lemongrass, thyme, peppermint and geraniol. And these naturally prepared products are also available in markets by various brand names like Ecosmart. A study was conducted in 2012 and it indicated that this oil is less effective against two species of tick, those ticks are lone star and deer tick.

Garlic oil is also an example of tick repellent which is derived from garlic plants. Garlic oils can be applied on lawns and it has proved itself according to study conducted in 2015. Metarhizium  brunneum is a fungus which is commonly found in soil and can be used for killing and repelling of ticks. This is also available in market under name of Met-52. This indicates an alternative approach to control ticks rather than using insecticides.

Nootkatone is an active ingredient found in some species of cedar tree whose oil is also considered as an essential oil. Unfortunately, this product is not yet available in market. Same study which was conducted in 2012 indicated that this can be used on cloths and shown much effective results than other brands. But still the work is going on to reduce its toxic effects and make it long lasting. Alongside this there are synthetic preparations available for tick repelling such as IR3535 which is a manmade product similar to an amino acid which occurs naturally, this had shown promising results against deer ticks according to a study.

Oil of lemon eucalyptus is another product whose active ingredient is para-methane-3,8-diol known as PMD. This is not an essential oil. Its frequent reapplication is less, which is necessarily needed.

BioUD is another product available in market known as undecanone and commonly found in stems and leaves of Lycopersicon hirsutum a wild specie of tomato plant. This product is special because can be used on skin directly or can be applied on cloths. A study was conducted in 2009 regarding effectiveness of these repellents like IR3535, undecanone and DEET. So, the results were surprising, BioUD showed better results than IR3535 and in case of DEET and BioUD no significant difference was observed. Even these products are prepared synthetically.

Suggestions regarding protection against Tick bites

  1. Avoid visiting those vicinities where ticks are prevalent

  2. If you are going on tour and will hike there, then always stay centered while walking on the trail

  3. Don’t walk through or pass those areas which are bushy, woody and having long grass

  4. If you will keep your garden/yard mowed, then there will be reduction space for ticks to hide, don’t forget to put fence around your yard if you are living near jungle or wild area, always spray your vicinities for tick repelling, because it’s the best way to stay safe

  5. If somehow you are visiting an area where ticks are prevalent then you must wear full sleeves and pants along boots, because its least you can do to protect yourself. Clothing is basically a barrier against various vectors like ticks, mosquitoes, fleas and flies.

  6. Ticks and also infect your companion animals like pets so keep your animals vaccinated and check them to vets on regular basis or you can use veterinary acaricides which are available commercially like K9, frontline and Advantix.

  7. If you are in tick prevalent area you must know to find and remove the tick. You must look into your clothing. Heat drying of cloths must be done at least for 10 minutes to kill ticks if present in your cloths. You must go for showering after visiting that place and it will be helpful for removal of unattached ticks. Ticks are small and are hard to see sometimes and they are attached to skin so do not squash, squeeze or burn tick if you found even a single one

  8. You can use fine tweezers hold tick close to your skin as possible, use gentle and straight motion to pull it out, you must be careful while pulling because the mouth parts can remain in your skin so perform this procedure in a really gentle way

  9. After removal look for any kind of rash or allergic reaction on your skin, if you found rash, fever or flu like symptoms you need medical attention.

You must follow all these remedies and suggestions to avoid tick bites because they are responsible for various lethal diseases which can lead to serious consequences if not treated in time. So, in the end I will say, protect yourself as much as you can. Because we are the one who are responsible for our own well being. So, stay safe and follow all those measures which are necessary to stay healthy.  

By Dr. Hammad Ur Rehman Bajwa

PhD Scholar, Department of Pathobiology, University of Illinois, Urnana-Champaign.