Ticks. They are not our friends. But, it seems that we are destined to share the outdoors with them. Ticks are scary, there is no doubt about that. They are the definition of small, yet mighty! However, we don’t want the fear of ticks to keep us from getting outside. When you know how to keep ticks away, check for ticks, and what to do if one is found, you can more confidently adventure, especially with kids in tow!
Before going outside
Before heading out, there are some safety precautions you can take.
- Spray Permethrin on your shoes (spray it outside, and let it dry before wearing; repeat every 2 weeks)
- Wear light-coloured clothing that covers up your skin (light colours will make it easier to spot ticks)
- Tuck tall socks into long pants
- Spray yourself and your belongings with a tick repellant (check your tick repellant for reapplication instructions)
While out adventuring, there is still more you can do to be cognisant of ticks. You are already prepared with your gear and your spray, so now…
- If you can, avoid walking in long grass (that being said, depending on your area, ticks can reside in short grass as well)
- Pull your hair up and/or wear a hat (ticks can fall from trees, or climb up your body)
After being outside
You’ve had your fun outside, so now we do the checks.
- As soon as you’re done adventuring, use a lint roller (or duct tape) all over your clothing (if ticks are just hanging on, you’ll get them off easily)
- At home, strip down and put your clothing in the dryer on high heat for 1 hour
- Shower and do a thorough tick check, especially around warm areas of your body, and your hair
Remember, if you’re itchy after being outside, look at the area before scratching, to determine if a tick is trying to make a new home!!
If you find a tick
If you find a tick, stay calm…do NOT yank the tick away instantly, as you do not want the tick to regurgitate into your body (sorry…we know, we know…not the nicest image, but we are talking about ticks here). You want to make sure the entire body of the tick is removed.
If the tick has bitten you, keep the tick in a bottle or a plastic bag (do not put the tick in tape), to send in for testing. You can check TickReport for more information. [If a tick is simply found somewhere and has not bitten you, you do not have to send it in for testing].
The Mamas from 3 Moms Organics informed us that Lyme disease testing for humans is only about 30% positive, and that the CDC says even if you test negative for Lyme disease, it does not mean you don’t have Lyme disease. That’s why testing the tick is more effective. The Mamas also urged people to make sure they take the full 28-days of antibiotics if bitten, as that brackets the life cycle of the bacteria. There are many other tick-borne diseases, and we want to protect ourselves (and also our pets!).
If you decide to check out TickWise, here are some quick facts about the product:
Well that’s all for ticks… for today at least. We hope you can avoid these pesky critters, and in the instance you cannot, we hope you feel confident in knowing exactly what to do! Happy Adventuring!