News, Culture & Society

Tick-resistant clothing protects you from 3 species of the bug

Tick-resistant clothing debilitates three different common species of tick, preventing them from biting humans and spreading disease, a CDC study found.

This summer is expected to be a particularly bad one for ticks, which can carry 14 diseases, including the nervous system condition, Lyme disease. 

Since 2004, rates of tickborne illnesses have tripled in the US.  

Tiny as they are, bites from ticks can be difficult to prevent, but the CDC’s latest study on peremthrin-treated clothing shows that the chemically-enhanced clothes can immobilize the bugs. 

According to its findings, buying some $30 tick-repellent pants just might keep you safe from Lyme disease this summer. 

Permethrin-treated clothes can help to prevent bites from black-legged, or deer ticks (left), lone star ticks (center) and American dog ticks (right), a new CDC study has found

Because this past winter was so mild, ticks started breeding and thriving earlier and more prolifically this year. 

The tick’s favorite food source – mice – is also running low this year, meaning more of the bugs are more likely to resort to human blood. 

Tick bites are fairly painless – though they might cause some itching and irritation after the fact  – but their mouths can transfer any one of 14 illnesses to humans. 

Some of the most common diseases include Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Colorado tick fever, Rickets and, of course, Lyme Disease. 

Every year, Lyme sickens 30,000 people. 

Its victims include supermodel Bella Hadid, who found out she had the disease in 2012.  

But officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that cases of the disease are vastly under-reported. The number, the agency says, is likely closer to 300,000.

Lyme disease is most common in states in the Northeastern region of the US. 

In 2015, all but five percent of Lyme disease diagnoses were made in Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Maryland and – the outlier – Minnesota. 

Common black-legged ticks, or deer ticks, carry the disease, which first causes a red, ring-shaped rash, then often causes flu-like symptoms. 


Supermodel Bella Hadid was diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2012. 

Her mother, Yolanda, and brother, Anwar both have the disease as well.

The family likely got the disease in upstate New York where the family had a horse barn.  

Hadid’s Lyme disease has caused her both mental and physical anguish. 

Her diagnosis was reportedly the reason she dropped out of a promising equestrian career. 

The 21-year-old Victoria’s Secret model has become an outspoken advocate for the difficult-to-diagnose disease that is often called invisible.  

But the disease often goes undiagnosed and untreated. 

As time goes on, similar rashes may appear on other parts of the body, and the disease may make a deeper attack on the central nervous system. 

Then what began as a bug can turn into joint pains and neurological problems from brain inflammation that often mystifies doctors and terrifies victims. 

The best tick bite prevention, of course, is just to avoid walking in wooded areas or regions with tall grasses where ticks like to take cover.  

If you will be walking in the woods, the CDC recommends covering as much of your bare skin as possible with long pants and sleeves, a covering you should seal by tucking shirts into pants and pants into socks. 

The agency has also long recommended using an insecticide called permethrin to treat the clothes you plan to wear on your outdoor adventures. 

Permethrin came on the market in the 1970s and is made to repel a number of flies, mosquitoes and some ticks.  

Several manufacturers sell the spray itself – which goes for between $5 and $20 – as well as pre-treated garments that sell for $30 to $100 at retailers like LL Bean. 

In its latest experiments, the CDC tested the effectiveness of these garments against three types of ticks – the deer tick, American dog tick and the lone star tick. 

Clothing coated in permethrin – which is derived from the chrysanthemum flower – poisoned all three varieties of the bugs, making it difficult for them to move and, therefore, bite. 

‘All tested tick species and life stages experienced irritation – the “hot-foot” effect–after coming into contact with permethrin-treated clothing,’ said Dr Lars Eisen, senior author of the study. 

‘This caused the ticks to drop off from a vertically oriented treated textile designed to mimic a pant leg or the arm of a shirt,’ he added.  


Comments are closed.