Most Importantly: Check for Ticks - Twice
The most important safety measure against ticks is always checking for ticks - at least twice. Despite all your best efforts, yard treatments, and bug sprays, you can still pick up ticks. For us, we've come up with our own protocol to thoroughly check for ticks whenever we come in from spending time outdoors. We're lucky enough to have a bathroom/laundry room right by our back door, so as soon as we come in we stop in to put all the clothes we wore directly into the washing machine and shut the door (shoes are left in the garage and not brought into the house). Then we thoroughly check for ticks - paying close attention to check those hard-to-see areas and scalp; a full-length mirror can be very helpful with this. Then, if possible, take a shower or bath next before getting dressed in fresh clothes. Ticks won't drown but thoroughly washing right after you come in will likely rinse any missed un-attached ticks off of you. Then that night before going to bed, make sure to do a second tick check just to confirm that nothing was missed earlier in the day.
You might think this tick-checking protocol is a little overboard, but if you live in a tick-prone area (like the Northeast) it's unfortunately very necessary. After following this protocol for two years now, we have had instances where we found dead ticks in our dryer lint trap (it's actually the high heat of the dryer that kills them - not the washing machine) and a live one on the shower wall once... these were ticks that were on us but were stopped by our thorough system.
Safeguarding your Pets
Up-to-Date on Preventatives and Vaccines
Talk with your vet about the best tick preventative option (collars, topical, oral medication, etc) for your pets and make sure you keep on schedule with it, even during the winter months. You might not think that ticks are out in the winter since they go dormant, but even a brief warm streak can bring them out.
Check for Ticks