5 Things That Put You at Risk for Tick Bites

May 7th 2016

Nothing completely eliminates the risk of tick bites when you spend time outside, especially during summer. Always check your entire body for ticks when you come indoors. If a tick does bite, carefully remove the entire bug from the skin, including the head and mouth, using a pair of tweezers.

Staying in the Shade

Ticks prefer moist habitats and are very rarely found in direct sunlight. Shady areas typically hold moisture, especially patches that are densely populated with small trees, bushes or tall grass, and are ideal environments for ticks, particularly when the climate is hot and humid. At home, place outdoor seating and recreation equipment away from shady, tree-covered areas.

Walking Near Leaf Piles and Tall Grass

Piles of leaves, dense undergrowth and tall grassy areas provide homes to thousands of insects, including ticks. Try to stay in the center of the trail while hiking. A quick step through brush or grass beside the trail is all it takes to pick up a tick, or two. Keep leaf piles away from functional areas of your yard and separate wooded areas from livable outdoor space with mulch, gravel or another dry landscaping material that helps deter ticks.

Wearing Dark Colors

Dark browns, blacks and blues not only retain heat, which attracts ticks, they also make it incredibly difficult to see the tiny bug as it crawls toward your skin. Choose white, beige or other light-colored clothing when you spend time in a tick-prone area. Quick-dry clothing is also recommended, especially in hot weather. Clothes that retain moisture are more likely to attract and sustain ticks.

Leaving Susceptible Skin Exposed

Shorts and sandals are typical summer wear as long as your destination is not a common tick habitat. When you head out to enjoy nature, dress appropriately. Tuck long pants into boots that cover the ankles for maximum protection. When wearing sneakers, pull up socks to secure the bottom of your pant leg. Tuck in your shirt to keep ticks out. If you spend a lot of time outdoors, consider investing in permethrin-treated clothing to repel ticks.

Skipping the Repellent

Even when you dress appropriately and avoid common tick habitats, a tick may still latch on when you are outdoors. A good insect repellent is the best defense against these tiny critters. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends applying a product that contains 20 to 30 percent DEET to skin and clothing, while some experts suggest using permethrin on clothing for more effective coverage.

Conclusion

Ticks are year-round threats that have the potential to transmit dangerous bacteria associated with Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. These tiny but lethal arachnids are most active during warm seasons and are typically found in humid environments with dense grasses and brush. Prevent tick bites by avoiding five common risk factors.

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