We all want to spend time exploring the outdoors this summer, whether hiking in the woods or just spending time with our families in our backyards.
Unfortunately, summer is also the season where ticks are out in force. Taking steps towards tick prevention is crucial to ensuring you can enjoy the warm weather safely.
What are Ticks and Why is Tick Prevention Important?
Ticks are tiny, blood-sucking creatures that attach themselves to your skin.
While their bites are usually painless, infected ticks can spread diseases such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever or Lyme disease. When untreated, Lyme disease can cause a range of debilitating symptoms including:
- High temperature
- Muscle pain
Tick prevention is key when keeping yourself and your family safe from tick-borne disease. Here’s some easy ways you can protect yourself from ticks.
1. Be Careful in Tick Habitat
Ticks live in places with tall grass and wooded areas, such as hiking trails. When out walking, make sure you keep to the middle of a trail to minimize the risk of an unwanted trail buddy.
You don’t need to be in the wilderness to be at risk – you could also be bitten by a tick in your own backyard. To prevent this happening, make sure you keep your lawn mowed regularly and brush away fallen leaves.
When spending time in grassy areas, have your guard up – take the proper precautions to protect yourself and check for ticks when you leave the area.
2. Wear Protective Clothing
In grassy and wooded places, wear long sleeved shirts and long trousers for tick prevention.
You should also tuck your trousers into your socks, and your shirt into your trousers, so no skin is exposed to tick bites.
Wearing light colored clothes will also help you to spot a tick if one does become attached to you.
3. Wear Insect Repellent
Insect repellents that contain DEET and Picaridin can stop you from being bitten. Choose a tick repellent that contains between 20-30% of these ingredients, and make sure it is approved by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Check the label to see how to apply the repellent – most of the time you will need to spray it on your clothing, not directly on your skin.
Read the instructions to make sure you are reapplying the repellent as often as you need to be to keep them at full effectiveness.
4. Check for Bites
When you come in from the outdoors, especially from a grassy or wooded area, make sure to perform a tick check.
Check your clothes first for any ticks that are attached, and remove ticks you can see. One you’ve done that, throw your clothes in the drier for 10 minutes to kill any that you’ve missed.
You will then need to check your entire body, including your armpits and in between your toes. You can do this in the shower, which will also help wash away any ticks.
Ticks can also attach themselves to your pets, so if you’ve taken your dog for a walk, give him a good look over.
What to Do if You Find a Tick
Removing a tick as soon as possible is crucial to minimize the risk of Lyme disease. If you do spot one, tick removal can be easily done at home with a pair of tweezers and is critical for disease prevention.
If you’ve been bitten by a tick and begin experiencing any of the symptoms of Lyme disease, speak to a doctor or health professional.
Do You Need Help With Tick Prevention?
Following these steps for tick prevention as well as doing thorough tick checks will mean you can enjoy the outdoors safely this summer.
However, sometimes we fail to prevent ticks from entering the home and they can reproduce and spread, causing an infestation.