Ticks are found throughout Maryland. The most common ticks in Maryland are the black-legged tick, the American dog tick, and the lone star tick.
Ticks are very small – black-legged ticks can be smaller than a sesame seed!
Some ticks can infect humans with bacteria, viruses, and parasites. But not every tick bite causes disease.
Get “Ticked Off”
Repellent, showers, and tick checks can prevent tick bites.
When you go out:
Look for ticks in the late spring through early fall, when they are most active. Ticks are most often found in wooded and marshy areas, in bushes, leaf litter, and tall grass.
When hiking, stay in the center of the trail.
Wear long pants and long sleeves when you are outside. Tuck your shirt into your pants, and your pants into your socks, to keep ticks on the outside of your clothes.
Remember there can be ticks in your yard, so take the same precautions when gardening or playing outdoors.
Use a repellent with DEET on skin. Repellents containing 20% or more DEET can protect up to several hours. Always follow product instructions. Parents should apply this product to their children, avoiding the hands, eyes, and mouth.
If you are outside often, consider treating your clothes and gear with permethrin, a repellent for clothing (not to be used directly on skin). Pre-treated clothing is available and may be protective longer.
When you come inside:
Check your clothing for ticks. Remove any ticks you find. Tumble dry clothes in a dryer on high heat for at least 10 minutes to kill ticks. Or wash clothes in hot water, then dry.
Shower soon after being outdoors. Showering within two hours of coming indoors has been shown to reduce your risk of getting Lyme disease. Showering may help wash off unattached ticks and it is a good time to do a tick check.
Check your body for ticks after being outdoors. Conduct a full body check when you get inside. Use a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body. Remember that ticks are very small!
Check these parts of your body and your child’s body for ticks:
- Under the arms
- In and around the ears
- Inside belly button
- Back of the knees
- In and around the hair
- Between the legs
- Around the waist
To prevent ticks in your yard, visit the CDC’s Preventing Ticks in the Yard page.
For information on preventing both tick and mosquito bites, visit our Fight the Bite page.
If you find a tick
To remove a tick:
- Use fine-tipped tweezers and protect your hands with a tissue or gloves.
- Grab the tick close to the skin with the tweezers. DO not twist or jerk.
- Do NOT use petroleum jelly, a hot match, nail polish, or other products to remove ticks.
- Gently pull up until all parts of the tick are removed. Hold your skin with your other hand.
- Wash hands and bite area with soap and water, or iodine or rubbing alcohol.
Many tick-borne diseases have the same early symptoms. Contact your health care provider early if you get any of these symptoms after a tick bite or being in areas where ticks might be:
Many cases of tick-borne disease can be cured with antibiotics, especially if they are treated early.
For more information on tick bites:
Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne disease in Maryland. See our Lyme disease page for more information.