Most Americans rarely or never check for ticks after spending time outdoors

Linley SandersSenior Data Journalist
June 22, 2021, 1:00 PM UTC

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that Americans check themselves for ticks after spending time outdoors, especially when in grassy or wooded areas. The warnings come as America is experiencing an increase in certain tick-borne diseases — but YouGov data shows that most are not taking simple precautions. 

A YouGov Direct poll of 3,456 Americans shows that 14% of US adults “always” check for ticks after being outdoors, with those living in rural areas (22%) being more likely to do so. One-third of Americans check at least sometimes (34%), with about half (47%) of those living in rural communities saying they occasionally check for ticks after being outdoors. 

Studies have shown that even small outdoor spaces can be a home to infected ticks. Just 28% of those living in the suburbs check for ticks always (10%) or sometimes (18%) after being outdoors. Three in 10 city residents do this always (14%) or sometimes (16%) after being in green spaces; two-thirds (68%) rarely or never do. 

Americans who know someone who experienced a tick-borne illness are the most likely group to check for the bugs. More than half (54%) always (23%) or sometimes (31%) do this after spending time outdoors. Just one in five (19%) say they never have checked for ticks. 

See the toplines from this YouGov poll 

Methodology: 3,456 US adults were asked, “How often do you check yourself for ticks after spending time outside?” and “Do you know anyone who has experienced a tick-borne illnesses (e.g. Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever)? Please select all that apply.” Data were weighted according to age, gender, race, and education to be representative of the US population. The margin of error is ±2.6%. 

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