It’s tick season! With the warmer temps, people are bound to clock more hours outdoors, upping their risk of coming in contact with various insects and pests that are doing the same. Ticks are one of the parasites and arthropods to keep an eye out for.
Ticks live by feeding on the blood of mammals, birds and sometimes reptiles and amphibians. If a tick latches on, they can burrow fairly quickly into your skin without you noticing. This gives them the chance to spread diseases to you, including ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia and Lyme disease—depending on the type of tick.
So what’s an outdoorsy person celebrating the joyous summer to do? There are many measures you can take to keep ticks at bay.
Tick-infested areas include the woods, where woods/fields meet the lawn, wooded areas, tall brush/grass, under leaves, raked lawns or sport fields, in the garden and around stone walls and woodpiles. In such areas, it’s important you avoid contact with soil, leaf litter and vegetation.
If you’re camping, hiking, doing yard work, etc., you can protect yourself by wearing light-colored clothing with a tight weave. This will ensure you can easily spot a tick. You should also make sure your shirt is long-sleeved and tucked into your bottoms. Wear pants and tuck the legs into socks or boots. In fact, be sure you only wear enclosed shoes. It’s also important you check yourself (and your animals!) frequently during your outing.
Using an insect repellent can also be helpful. Look for one with DEET, permethrin or picaridin. Also, be mindful to keep long hair tied back when in tick-infested areas, and use a fine-tooth comb through your hair once home. Checking the folds of the skin, showering and washing your clothes is also helpful.