This spring, I’ve already come into contact with a few ticks. The worse was the one that was on my scalp. Good thing the members of my hiking group always check each other after each hike or it would have gone unnoticed. Thankfully, none of us has been bitten. Luckily, except for that one in my hair, we’ve been able to spot them crawling on each other and flick them off during or after our hikes. It should always be a definite concern when you are enjoying the outdoors, because some tick bites transmit pathogens. Of course, the advice is to avoid tick season completely by staying away from outdoor areas where ticks thrive, usually during the months of April through September in the U.S.
I’m not about to let tick season ruin my spring and summer, but WE NEED to be cautious. Some ticks carry major tick-borne diseases, so this is something to take very serious. Here are the CDC recommended methods for tick prevention while outdoors:
1. Avoid grassy areas and shrubs where tick populations may be high and where they reside, waiting to grab a ride on a potential host.
2. Wear light-coloured clothing so ticks can be easily seen, and brush them off.
3. Tuck pants into boots or socks to avoid ticks crawling up loose pant legs.
4. Apply insect repellent and use the brands designed to repel ticks. Follow label instructions. Avoid use of DEET-containing repellents on children. Carefully follow instructions and apply some repellents directly to skin and others to clothing. DEET-containing repellents with concentrations of 15% or less may be suitable for children. These should be carefully applied strictly following label directions. Repellents containing permethrins may be applied to clothing but not to skin. In areas that have a high tick population, DEET-containing repellents may need to be reapplied more frequently than for repelling mosquitoes. Follow the package label instructions carefully.
5. Promptly check yourself, others, and pets if exposed to areas where ticks are likely to be located.
Be sure to follow these CDC recommendations as a preventative. As for all outdoor safety guidelines, always keep them in mind and never take unnecessary risks.