Whether you’re going for a hike in the woods or taking a long evening walk among the tall grass, this time of year is meant to be spent outdoors. But all the sunshine and fresh air can come with the risk of picking up unwanted crawlers - ticks. Ticks are more than just a summertime annoyance. When they bite into human skin and hold, they may transmit diseases such as Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. And catching one of these illnesses isn’t as rare as you may think. According to the Center for Disease Control, more than 300,000 people contract Lyme Disease each year as a result of a tick bite. It’s important to take precautions in order to prevent exposure to these disease-carrying arachnids. Here are several ways to avoid these tiny annoyances while enjoying the outdoors this summer.
Wear Insect Repellant
This is a quick and easy way to deter ticks. Before heading out into the woods or even in the tall grass, spray yourself and your clothes head to toe with an insect repellant. Be sure to purchase a repellant with at least 10 to 30 percent of DEET in it. This is the only chemical approved by the CDC that will actually repel ticks.
Wear Light Colors and Tuck Your Clothes
Light colors will help you detect the ticks before they get onto your skin. Instead of shorts, wear pants. Wearing pants in the summer heat is probably the last thing you want to do, but it will help prevent a tick from crawling on to your legs. At least the light colors will help keep some of the heat away, right? Lastly, tuck your shirt into your pants to prevent the ticks from hitchhiking on your shirt. And it may look silly, but tuck those pants into your socks too.
Stay In the Sun
Ticks have outer covers that rapidly lose moisture and they also need a humid environment in order to live. So, you’ll find them camped out in piles of leaves and shady nooks and crannies that have the amount of humidity they need to survive. Sticking to sun exposure isn’t a guarantee you won’t come in contact with a tick -there’s always one that likes to adventure out but it’s certainly a way to reduce the risk.
Have Tweezers On Hand
If you do happen to find a tick on you after you’ve taken all of the precautions we’ve discussed so far, don’t panic. Most ticks must be attached to you for a minimum of 36 hours before spreading any diseases. After an extended trip in the great outdoors, go inside and check yourself from head to toe for any ticks. If you find one, use a pair of tweezers to remove. Grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible and pull upward. Don’t twist or jerk. Parts of the tick may remain in the skin. Clean the area with alcohol and you’re good to go.