5 Tips for Preventing Tick Bites
The fear of ticks does not have to prevent you from enjoying outdoor activities. Dress right, stay out of tick-infested areas and keep your home inhospitable to them to remain tick-free.
Avoid When Possible
Avoid tick bites by simply not exposing yourself to them. Be cautious about where you walk, and stay in sunny areas because ticks prefer shade. Ticks cannot fly or even jump. Instead, they find victims by hanging onto the edges of tall grass or other vegetation, and then scurry over when someone brushes against them. Stay out of overgrown areas, and try to stick to the center of the path when hiking.
Dress for Success
The clothing you wear can also keep you safe from tick bites. Closed-toed shoes, long sleeves and long pants are a good idea when spending time in tick-infested areas. Ticks usually initially crawl onto your shoes or pant legs and then find their way underneath to get to your skin, so consider tucking your pants into your socks or wearing gaiters to make this more difficult. Wear light-colored clothing to help you see the ticks before they get to your skin.
Use the Right Repellent
Insect repellents are generally effective against ticks. The most common type of bug spray is made from DEET, which prevents ticks from biting you. However, there is some evidence ticks may travel across your skin until they find an untreated area. Permethrin-based repellents are highly effective against ticks as well. You can buy clothing infused with permethrin or make your own with a spray designed for use on clothing for added protection.
Check and Remove Immediately
Ticks generally spend a bit of time scurrying around before biting. Even when a tick does attach itself to you, quick removal can reduce your chances of getting sick. Always do a thorough check of your body after going outdoors. Showering within a couple of hours can help ensure you find them all, as can using mirrors to inspect hard-to-see areas.
Keep Them Out of Your Home
The great outdoors is not the only place where ticks can bite you. Overgrown vegetation, piles of leaves and shrubs in shady areas can all attract ticks. Keep your lawn free of these as much as possible, and do tick checks after spending much time outside. Pets can also carry ticks into your home, so talk to your veterinarian about appropriate tick prevention.
The discovery of a tick drinking your blood is always unpleasant, but it can also lead to serious diseases, including Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Many of these diseases have no vaccines, and they can be difficult to treat. It is important to avoid tick bites, which is possible with a little planning and knowledge.