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 for protection against Lyme disease and other tick-borne ailments are from the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention).
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 repellent containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE), para-menthane-diol (PMD), or 2-undecanone.
EPA’s helpful search tool 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
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.
And these additional tips from the New York State Dept. of Health.
ecoXplorer Evelyn Kanter is a journalist with 20+ years of experience as a newspaper and magazine writer, radio & TV news producer & reporter, and author of guidebooks and smartphone apps – all focusing on travel, automotive, the environment and your rights as a consumer.
ecoXplorer Evelyn Kanter currently serves as President of the International Motor Press Assn. (IMPA), a former Board Member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) and a current member of the North American Travel Journalists Assn. (NATJA).
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright (C) Evelyn Kanter