The great outdoors is a beautiful place, but it also has a lot of ugly pests, insects and other organisms that can make your outdoor experience miserable. Ticks are one example of the sort of outdoor menace that can do a whole lot of damage given the opportunity to bite you. These small bloodsucking parasitic arthropods can cause vector-borne diseases, including Lyme disease, tularemia, anaplasmosis, babesiosis, and ehrlichiosis. If you live in a region where ticks are a problem, here are some ways to prevent bites from happening.
What to Do Before Heading Outdoors
- Be aware of where ticks abound. Some of the places where ticks live include areas where there’s grass, bush and wood. They can even be found on animals as well. If you are doing outdoor activities like gardening or picnicking, you are possibly putting yourself in a position to come in contact with ticks.
- If it is tick season, before heading out, treat your clothes, footwear and camping gear with permethrin-containing products. A product with at least 0.5 permethrin is ideal and can offer protection even after a few wash cycles.
- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents that contain ingredients like DEET, picaridin, IR3535, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE), para-menthane-diol (PMD), or 2-undecanone could come in handy to keep ticks at bay.
What to Do When Outdoors
- Limit skin exposure when outdoors by inserting your pant hems into your socks.
- When trekking or hiking, remain on well-worn paths away from tall grass, leaf litter, and bushy areas, and walk in the center of paths.
What to Do When it’s Time to Get Indoors
- Perform a tick check of your clothing since they can be transferred into the house on your clothes. Remove any tick found and then toss the clothes in your dryer and set it on high heat to tumble for a period of 10 minutes to kill any remaining ticks.
- Wash dirty clothes in hot water, which will kill the ticks.
- Don’t forget the check your gear as well, along with your pets since ticks can attach themselves to them.
- It’s best to do a full-body tick check and shower in the first two hours of getting indoors, in order to prevent being bit, which could increase your risk of developing a tick-borne disease.
A tick bite is not something that you want to happen to you step outside. However, it can happen when doing some kind of outdoor activity in areas where there are tall grass and bush. Preventing tick bites requires you to be self-aware and vigilant. The last thing you want is to develop a tick-borne disease.