As if we didn’t have enough to worry about this summer, with delayed flights and lost baggage and high gas prices for family road trips, if you are headed into a wooded area, staying safe from ticks and tick bites are an additional concern.
These tips are from the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), to keep everybody in the family safe from Lyme disease and other tick-born ailments.
Consider tick repellent clothes
Ticks will attach anywhere on your shoes or clothing and then crawl onto your skin.
Consider insect repellent clothing to keep ticks from latching on and crawling up. Brands and stores which offer insect-repellant clothing include:
- Ex Officio
- LL Bean
- Insect Shield
Top advantages of insect repellent clothing:
- Long-lasting and invisible
- Don’t have to reapply it every time you step outside
Even if you don’t buy an entire treated wardrobe, at least consider protective socks, since ticks are normally close to the ground, where your feet are.
Also, be sure to tuck your shirt into your pants and your pants into your socks, to make it tougher for the little beasts to find skin.
Use a spray tick repellent
When clothes are treated with tick repellent, ticks may grab on, but after a few seconds of exposure, they will generally fall off.
Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellentsexternal icon containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE), para-menthane-diol (PMD), or 2-undecanone.
EPA’s helpful search toolexternal icon can help you find the product that best suits your needs.
Always follow product instructions.
Do not use products containing OLE or PMD on children under 3 years old.
When clothes are treated with permethrin, ticks may grab on, but after a few seconds of exposure, they will generally fall off.
Walk down the center of the trail
Ticks are usually more abundant on the edges of trails, so walking down the center can help you avoid ticks that are waiting to jump onto the nearest host.
Know that the simple and courteous act of stepping off the trail to let someone pass can increase your risk of a tick encounter.
Do a thorough tick check
It’s important to do a thorough tick check on yourself, your kids, and your pets after being in a tick habitat, especially in areas where your clothing binds against your skin, such as your underarms.
Perform tick checks from the ground up. Here’s where to check for ticks:
- Between toes
- Behind knees
- In the groin area
- Around waistline
- In the belly button
- Inside elbow joints and armpits
- In and around the ear
- Around the hairline
- On the scalp
Remove your clothes after being in a tick habitat and put them in the dryer
Put your clothing in the dryer after being out in a tick habitat. Ten minutes of high heat will kill off any ticks stuck on your clothing.
It’s a simple trick that can help remove ticks that may be hiding.
There’s also a website, ticksafety.com, to check for additional information.