Avoid Ticks On and Off the Trail
Avoid ticks and prevent tick bites. Search for ticks on your body after being outside, especially in wooded and grassy areas.
As someone who spends their time outdoors, you've heard this advice before, but it bears repeating.
I was reminded of how important regular, thorough tick searches are when we discovered an engorged tick on my preschooler's head. The tick, which had been feasting in various spots for days, was promptly removed with tweezers from our first aid kit.
In addition to Lyme Disease, there are a number of other infections ticks can pass on. Since my daughter's tick had been on her for more than 48 hours, she ended up on antiobiotics as a preventative measure.
To avoid spending your holiday calling up your doctor, follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's advice below for Preventing Tick Bites.
Avoid Direct Contact with Ticks
- Avoid wooded and bushy areas with high grass and leaf litter. (When hiking wear a hat, long pants tucked into socks or boots, and a long-sleeved shirt tucked into your pants.)
- Walk in the center of trails. (Ticks can't fly or jump, but they will wait on the ends of grasses and shrubs for you to brush against them.)
Repel Ticks with DEET or Permethrin
- Use repellents that contain 20 percent or more DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide) on the exposed skin for protection that lasts up to several hours. Always follow product instructions. Parents should apply this product to their children, avoiding hands, eyes, and mouth.
- Use products that contain permethrin on clothing. Treat clothing and gear, such as boots, pants, socks, and tents. It remains protective through several washings. Pre-treated clothing is available and remains protective for up to 70 washings.
- Other repellents registered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may be found at http://cfpub.epa.gov/oppref/insect/.
Find and Remove Ticks from Your Body
- Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors (preferably within two hours) to wash off and more easily find ticks that are crawling on you.
- Conduct a full-body tick check using a handheld or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body upon return from tick-infested areas. Parents should check their children for ticks under the arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button, behind the knees, between the legs, around the waist, and especially in their hair. (My daughter's tick started behind her ear and was well hidden in her hair when we found it.)
- Examine gear and pets. Ticks can ride into the home on clothing and pets, then attach to a person later, so carefully examine pets, coats, and packs. Tumble clothes in a dryer on high heat for an hour to kill remaining ticks.
For more info: CDC's All About Ticks section