As the weather warms up, everyone knows to apply sunscreen and drink plenty of water, but the Tick-Borne Disease Alliance (TBDA) is spreading the word about one of the season’s biggest—but rarely mentioned dangers—the tick. TBDA has compiled a list of Top 10 Tick Prevention Tips to help everyone outdoors avoid becoming a victim of these disease carrying menaces.
Ticks are most active in the spring and summer months when they’re typically in their “nymph” stage. Because of their small size at this stage in their lives, these ticks can go feeding—unnoticed—for days, allowing greater time for infectious bacteria to travel from the tick to its human host.
Lyme disease is the fastest growing infectious disease and the most common tick-borne disease in the country, according to the Center for Disease Control, but there are numerous other diseases that ticks can pass along, as well. There is currently no full-proof diagnostic tool for Lyme disease, causing thousands of people to often go misdiagnosed and without appropriate treatment. Many sufferers of tick-borne illnesses are not even aware that they are victims of these diseases because they simply don’t have the facts. TBDA believes it is essential to raise awareness about tick prevention.
Below is the list of TBDA’s Top 10 Tick Prevention Tips:
1. Purchase tick-repellent clothing, especially clothing treated with permethrin, an insecticide that repels and kills ticks. You may spray your own clothing with permethrin or seek out brands such as Insect Shield, ExOfficio’s BugsAway or ElimiTick from retailers like L.L. Bean and Eastern Mountain Sports, which remain effective for up to 70 washes.
2. Reduce the amount of skin exposed by sporting long pants, long-sleeved shirts and a hat.
3. EPA-approved insect repellent should be applied to exposed skin.
4. Venture in the center of woodland trails, and by all means avoid walking along any deer paths.
5. Every time you’ve been outside, check for ticks while you are out and as soon as you get back.
6. Never wait to shower. Bathing as soon as possible will help in removing unattached ticks from your body. Bath time is the perfect time to carefully inspect for any unwanted hitchhikers.
7. Take your clothes off and put them in the dryer at high heat for about 30 minutes to kill any ticks.
8. Inspect your pets when they come inside from the outdoors, as they may be transporting ticks that can then transfer to you.
9. Opt for light-colored clothing to make it easier to spot ticks.
10. Neatly tuck your shirt into your pants and your pants legs into your socks when possible to provide an extra line of defense against ticks.