The agency played poked fun over social media, but their lighthearted ploy reminds us that avoiding ticks is serious business.

It's a horrifying comparison to make, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention got their point across this week when they asked social media users to differentiate miniscule ticks from poppy seeds on fresh muffins—a worst nightmare for any baker.

The Twitter post, which serves as one of the best warnings we've seen from the national agency in charge of food safety and other protective measures, garnered a few pursed lips and heated words from home cooks who couldn't stomach the hair-raising comparison.

The CDC ended up flippantly apologizing for "ticking off" many repulsed social media users online, but reinforced the message once more: "Protect yourself."

What's the best way to protect yourself from errant ticks? As the CDC illustrates, finding the infinitesimal bug isn't an easy task: but the agency has a list of steps you can follow to keep yourself and your family safe while playing outside.

Use the Best Bug Repellant Possible

The CDC says you should look for repellant that contains at least 20 percent DEET or picaridin to apply on exposed skin when you head outside. The Environmental Protection Agency has this handy tool to help you find the best bug spray for you and your family.

Tick Check

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You remember those from childhood, right? Taking the time to look for ticks on your body—including behind the ears, knees, around your waistline, within your thigh region, in your belly button, and a thorough hair check—can drastically reduce your chance of contracting Lyme disease.

It might sound overwhelming, but jumping into the shower within two hours of spending time outside can also help shake any ticks that have managed to latch onto your body.

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Tumble Dry Clothing

One particular way to kill any ticks that have managed to travel into your home with you is to throw your clothes into a dryer, on high, for 10 minutes. Any bugs and insects will die from heat exposure and you'll save yourself from any possible nesting in your furniture.

Check Your Pets

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One of the most common ways humans become infected from tick-borne illnesses is via pet dogs and cats. While many veterinarians already advise pet owners to invest in flea and tick control treatments for pets, it's important to do a quick check of fido after spending prolonged periods outside.

Spray Your Yard

If you've taken a liking to heading outdoors to enjoy grilled meals during the summer, the best way to ensure that you're protecting yourself is to spray tick-repellant pesticides around the areas you spend time in the most.