As the weather warms up and you’re getting ready to get back on the hiking trail it’s important to be aware that you’re now in prime tick season.
Ticks do not die in the winter. Instead they become dormant until the weather warms up. There are a few exceptions to this rule. It doesn’t matter where you live in the US, you’ll find some version of the tick.
It is important to be aware that ticks carry a huge number of diseases. They are not just a problem for animals. It is possible for humans to get the same diseases that a tick can give your pets; these include Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Both of these are transmitted by a tick bite and can seriously affect your health.
Here are 5 tips to help you avoid ticks:
1.- Protective Clothing
You are most at risk when you are walking through long grass. Ticks can sit on the grass for months waiting. Simply brushing against them is enough for them to get onto your skin and then bite you.
It is important to keep your legs and arms covered as much as possible. Ideally tuck your pants into your socks and wear shoes that fully encompass your feet.
If you notice you have ticks on you, your pet or in your yard then get specialist help as quickly as possible. It can take up to 24 hours before enough bacteria have been transmitted from the tick to affect your body. The sooner you get specialist help the easier it will be to remove the tick and provide treatment.
It is important to note if you are removing the tick yourself then you need to make sure the whole thing is removed. Leaving part of it in you will lead to infection.
It is a good idea to purchase repellent. You can visit most stores to find this but you may prefer to talk to someone with expert knowledge of ticks. They can make sure you have the best repellent for the area you are intending on visiting.
For reference the DEET content should be at least 20% and you’ll need to cover all exposed skin. Repellent generally only lasts a few hours so you also need to carry some with you. It is also worth noting that you can get products to spray on your clothes. These should contain permethrin which will protect against ticks and can actually survive several wash cycles!
4.- Stick To The Trail
It’s tempting to be like Indiana Jones and clear your own path through the woods. But, if you’re hoping to avoid the ticks you are much better off staying on the trail.
Ticks stay on grass and other plants until you brush against them. Therefore, the less brushing you do the less likely the chance of you picking any up. Trails exist everywhere as even if not many humans go past, animals always do.
The best advice to avoid issues is to simply check your body after you’ve been for a hike. A shower is excellent for removing ticks that have not yet bitten you. It will also allow you to feel your body and check there are none that are attached.
The sooner you remove them the better!