Ticks are present all year round but they’re particularly active when the weather’s warm. We understand the importance of protecting our furry friends from ticks but we often forget to look after ourselves.
Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, and ehrlichiosis are just some of the many illnesses and viruses that ticks can spread to humans. Although these illnesses are treatable, prevention is key and you should exercise caution to avoid being bitten.
Use these tips to remain tick-free while you enjoy the great outdoors:
Ticks can be found almost anywhere, although grassy, wooded areas make ideal homes for them. You can find them in your yard, in the woods, and on your favorite hiking trail but you may be surprised to learn that they also live in sheds, treehouses, play structures, and inside/on tools used for yard work, like wheelbarrows.
If the weather allows, wear long-sleeved clothing and pants to protect yourself from ticks. Use insect repellents that contain deet (20% or more) or spray your clothing with permethrin to reduce your chances of being bitten. Apply your repellent according to the instructions on the container and wash it off when you come home.
After being outside, you should check both your body and your clothing for ticks. They’re commonly found on ankles, armpits, hairlines, and the back of your knees. Conduct a quick body check and if you find any ticks on your clothing, remove them and then throw your clothes in the dryer for 10 minutes using a high heat setting to kill them.
Don’t panic if you find a tick on yourself. Remove it with tweezers and flush it down the toilet or tape it to an index card if you’d like to have it tested. After you’ve removed the tick, wash the area with soap and water and monitor any changes. If you develop a rash or a fever, call your doctor. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
Preventing tick bites is the best way to protect your family and yourself from tick-borne diseases. Once you incorporate these tips into your regular routine, you’ll be able to worry less and enjoy your time spent outside even more.