The ticks are out in full force again this year so it’s important to find ways to protect yourself and stay tick free.
Every year the tick population seems to get worse and worse- with more and more reports of different diseases that the deer ticks carry- like Lyme Disease. Obviously the best protection is to stay tick free and avoid getting them. While staying indoors is technically an option it sure doesn’t sound like a good or fun one, so here is a list of 5 tricks that will help you to stay tick free.
Note: Wood, Deer and other Ticks are sneaky and even if you follow these tips to the letter it won’t guarantee that you don’t get one (or more), especially if you are outside for an entire day or more. These are meant more as guidelines to keep them from biting into you, but the most important trick is to always be aware. And if you find a tick that has lodged itself in you follow these tips for removal and tracking.
5 Tips to Stay Tick Free this season
1. Wear Long Pants.
Long pants protect against lots of things, from ticks to nettles and getting scratched, so it’s always a good idea to wear long pants when going on a hike in the woods or a stroll through the prairie.
2. Tuck Long Pants into Socks
Fold your pants around your heel and pull your sock up over them before putting on your hiking boots. Sure, you won’t be winning a beauty contest with this look, but it’s my number one way to stay tick free. If I do get a tick on my clothes, then they have to stay on top of my clothes until they climb up to my shirt, which keeps them out of a lot of hidden places. It’s worth the fashion faux-paux to me!
3. Spray deet on your shoes.
I hate strong chemicals. I hate deet. But I also hate tick-born disease, so while I refuse to spray my body down with deer, I will spray a bunch on the bottom of my shoes (all the way up to where my shoes meet my socks).
4. Avoid grass that’s between heel to shin-high in length.
Ticks love to hang out on the tip tops of grasses, swaying in the wind, with their arms outstretched and ready to grab hold of their next unsuspecting victim.
It may not be exactly like that, but you will definitely pick up double or triple the amount of ticks by running through thick, shin-high grass as you would walking through a densely wooded area, with not much undergrowth.
5. Strip search.
As soon as you get back from any outdoor adventure strip down and do a check. Seriously. Take off everything and then look in a mirror from every angle, make sure they didn’t sneak into your hair, and throw your clothes in the washing machine (so that you don’t risk getting a tick later when you go to wash clothes! My step mom just got a tick that she found stuck on her when she hadn’t been outside- but she had done the laundry…)
If you do find a tick that is a attached keep an eye on the spot for about two weeks to make sure no rings or rash appear.
Here are some other great resources.
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