Summer safety tips: Tick bites and fish hook injuries

By Kelsey Guthmiller, Trauma Program Manager at Riverwood Healthcare Center

With the start of the summer season and spending more time outdoors, the incidence of tick bites and fish hook injuries in our area explodes. Here are some safety tips for both.

Tick bites prevention
Before you go outdoors, know where to expect ticks. Ticks live in grassy, brushy, or wooded areas, or even on animals, even in your own yard. Walking your dog, camping, gardening, or hunting could bring you in close contact with ticks.

Before venturing out in a heavy tick traffic area, use a tick repellent spray containing DEET or treat your clothing with a product containing 0.5% permethrin by applying in a well-ventilated area and hang dry. Permethrin remains protective through several washings. Alternatively, you can buy permethrin-treated clothing and gear.

While hiking trails, stay toward the center and away from foliage and grasses. Upon returning home, check your clothing for ticks. Tumble dry clothing on high heat for 10 minutes. Check your body for ticks and shower soon after being outdoors. Remember to check your child’s body for ticks, including under the arms, in and around the ears, inside belly button, back of knees, in and around the hair, between legs and around the waist.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) offers more tick prevention tips at

Fish hook injuries
Most fish hook injuries puncture the skin of the face, scalp, fingers, back, or ears. Remove a fish hook at home that isn’t too deep. It’s important to clean the puncture wound well to help prevent infection because a puncture from a fish hook is often dirty from marine bacteria.

A fish hook can cause serious health problems if it enters the eye, muscles, tendons, ligaments, or bones. Seek medical help when a fishhook is in or near an eye, bleeding is severe or can’t be stopped, the wound is big enough to need stitches, or signs of infection develop, such as redness, swelling, or pus.

Dr. David Taylor, Riverwood chief medical officer and emergency medicine physician, reminds us all to safeguard our health as we enjoy the great outdoors. “Minnesota is a great place for recreation and with that brings some common visits to the emergency room including tick bites and fish hook injuries. Even if you are careful out fishing, getting hooked happens. We remind you to leave the fish hook in the skin as it makes removal by a medical professional an easier process. If you are having symptoms from a tick bite, we urge you to see your provider for a treatment plan. Also, make sure your tetanus vaccination is current.”

Have fun and stay safe on all your fishing adventures and outdoor summer activities.