Tick bites can be a very serious health threat. Over the last century, nationwide deer populations have grown from 500,000 to over 28 million. And as deer have moved in on populated areas, they’ve brought the risk of deer ticks and resulting Lyme disease along with them.
When you head outdoors, whether at home or in a nearby recreation area, being prepared and alert to tick dangers is the best way to prevent these pesky critters from biting.
- Dress Smart: Wear long pants, sleeves and socks, and tuck pants cuffs into boots or socks. Also be sure you’re wearing light colors, which will help you to spot ticks more easily.
- Stay on Track: Stay to the center of hiking paths, and avoid grassy and marshy woodland areas. Ticks can’t jump, and they simply hang out on brush and tall grasses waiting for you to pass and rub up against them.
- Inspect Daily: Inspect yourself and your children for clinging ticks after being outdoors. Deer ticks are hard to see, with nymphs being dot-sized and adults smaller than a sesame seed. If you discover a tick attached and feeding, don’t panic; Studies indicate that an infected tick doesn’t usually transmit the Lyme organism during the first 24 hours. Remove the tick immediately using fine-tipped tweezers, and monitor your health closely after a bite, being alert for any signs and symptoms of a tick-borne illness.
- Use Repellent: When in a tick-infested area, use of insect repellent is a good preventive measure; however, consider using a product designed to be applied to clothing rather than your skin.
Deer ticks are most active from April through October, so use caution when venturing into tick country. By following these simple instructions to prevent tick bites you can make your spring and summer more enjoyable outdoors.