Summer is always a good time to get outside to play, but it’s also when we’re most likely to bring back unwelcome guests—ticks. That's why it's important to know tick protection techniques.
The Centers for Disease Control is attributing last year’s mild winter to what could turn out to be one of the worst tick seasons on record. The warmer weather led to an increase in the deer and mice populations. These animals are hosts for ticks. Ticks can carry dangerous diseases like Lyme disease and can easily pass them on to us. So, here are some steps you can take to protect yourself from ticks.
Tick Protection Tip: What to Watch For
The American Dog Tick is the one you should be looking for—they’re the most prevalent. They are most commonly found on dogs, but feed off a range of hosts, from mice to deer, but will commonly attack humans. In dogs, ticks will attach to their necks, but in humans, it’s different.According to the University of Rhode Island’s Tick Encounter Resource Center, ticks are "programmed" to try and attach around your head or ears. If they latch on your leg, they will eventually crawl up.
American Dog Ticks are found in grassy fields, along walkways, and trails. They will even show up in your own backyard.
Your Best Defense
Your best defense is to use an insect repellent registered with the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA even has a search tool you can use to find a repellent that will work best for you. Cover your arms and legs, especially when you’re in heavily wooded or grassy areas.
You can also try “tick proofing” your yard by clearing high grass and leaves (where ticks like to lay their eggs), or remove plants that deer typically like to eat such as: hosta, morning glory and tulips.
Despite your best efforts, ticks can easily be carried inside. To decrease your risk even further; take the following precautions to keep them out of your home:
- Check your clothes— remove any ticks you find.
- Check your body— use a hand-held mirror for hard to see areas.
- Take a shower— just make sure you do it within two hours of coming inside.
Removing a Tick
If your tick protection techniques failed you and you're forced to remove one, here's how you can do it. Get rid of the tick by submerging it in alcohol or flushing it down the toilet. You should also clean the area of your skin where the tick latched on with iodine, rubbing alcohol, or soap and water.
Ticks are just one of a number of summer health hazards we need to be concerned about, but a few simple precautions will offer you your best defense. For more tips on staying safe this summer, download our summer safety survival guide.