Tick Borne Illness

Northern Star Council Camps Lyme Disease Awareness & Prevention for Campers

With proper planning and education, tick problems can be minimized.

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that people may develop after being bitten by a Lyme‐infected deer tick. Minnesota and Wisconsin are high‐risk areas for Lyme disease; this is especially true for the wooded or forested regions of these two states. This page provides campers with some prevention strategies for avoiding Lyme disease and discusses what Lyme disease may look like so campers will know to see a physician if these symptoms develop. Please share this information with all parents, leaders, and Scouts in your unit who are planning to attend camp this summer or who have attended camp.


  • The best way to prevent Lyme disease is to keep from being bitten. Insecticides work by killing ticks, whereas repellents work by encouraging them to leave before biting.
    • Permethrin is the active ingredient of insecticides; it should be used on clothing, sleeping bags, and tents, and should not applied to skin. It has passed EPA safety tests and is extensively used by the US military. Retail products are made by various manufactures and can be found at outdoor stores such as Gander Mountain and Fleet Farm.
    • DEET is the chemical found in many repellents. To repel ticks, the concentration needs to be 30% or higher. It is safe to apply to unbroken skin but it can damage certain fabrics and materials. All campers should wear a good quality insect repellent when they are in the woods.  Pay special attention to spray the area below the knees. 
  • Please do not let Scouts use aerosol sprays unsupervised because of potential dangers from misuse including damage to eyes and the flammability of the product. 
  • Walk in the center of trails to avoid picking up ticks from brush and long grass. 
  • Wear long pants and light‐colored clothing (it is easier to identify ticks on light colors). 
  • Make “tick checks” part of the daily routine at camp.  Scouts should be reminded every day to check for ticks, while parents should help younger Cub Scouts with actual checks.  Regular showers will also help with early detection.  Please note that ticks tend to attach at points of constriction. 

What to do upon returning home 

  • Check for any ticks that may have remained on the body after leaving camp. 
  • Check under clothes, ticks tend to attach at points of constriction. 
  • Early signs and symptoms appear 3 to 32 days after at tick bite and may include fever, fatigue, headache, aching joints, nausea, and sometimes a bulls eye type rash. If any of these symptoms appear, you should see a doctor. 
  • Lyme disease can be a tricky diagnosis for physicians to make and lab testing is not always reliable. If you develop symptoms of Lyme disease, make sure you see your physician and let him or her know you have participated in outdoor activities in areas known to have Lyme disease. 
  • If tested positive for Lyme disease or a tick related illness, you will be put on antibiotics and no symptoms typically remain or reoccur. 
  • If a Scout comes home from camp and find they have any type of tick related illness, please call the council office and give the Scout's name, phone number, unit number, week at camp, and the campsite name.  This information can be left on a recorded message if necessary.  This information will help the Camp Program Committee track the occurrences and help in future policy decisions.  Additional Information can be obtained at: www.health.state.mn.us/lyme

What do we do to manage ticks?

We communcaite Lyme disease awareness through: 

  • The Leader Guides and Companion manuals 
  • Our Website
  • Posters at Camp 
  • Spoken reminders during camp tours 
  • A printed document is given to each group to distribute to every Scout as they check in to camp 

Landscape Treatment 

  • We mow campsites/program areas prior to and during the Summer Camping Season 
  • Permethrin use is heavily encouraged for camp staff 
  • Fogging/treating an area with Permethrin is utilized in all campsites and program areas 
Tick Borne Illness