HOW CAN YOU PROTECT YOURSELF AGAINST TICK-BITES?
Lyme Disease represents a health threat to all of us, not only to those who live in tick infested areas. Not only park rangers, hikers, campers, fishermen, hunters are at risk. Performing an outdoor activity in the park or in your own yard puts you at risk. By taking some simple precautions you can reduce the chances of being bitten by a tick.
- GET YOURSELF INFORMED. Learn where are the Blacklegged ticks endemic areas. If you are planning to hike in an area with high tick burdens (shrubs, brush, wooded or grassy area), you may want to change your mind. Keep in mind that avoidance is the best preventive measure. In case that is not an option, please ensure don’t go off the trail.
- WEAR PROTECTIVE CLOTHING. If you have to walk through tall bushes/ vegetation, it is recommended you wear protective clothing, preferably in light-colour. Tuck your shirt into pants, and your pants into your socks. Ticks are easier to spot on a lighter fabric.
- APPLY A TICK REPELLENT (with 20% or 30%DEET, permethrin or Icaridin) which can offer several hours of protection. Read and follow label instruction before applying it. DEET can be applied on the skin directly, while Permethrin can be used to treat clothing, hiking boots and camping gear. Ensure your children are not getting any DEET on their hands, eyes or mouth.
- PERFORM DAILY BODY CHECKS. After performing any outdoor activity, you should check your entire body for ticks, bite marks or rashes within maximum two hours time. You should always search for ticks under the arms, in and around the ears, back of your knees, between the legs, around your waist and even inside the belly button.
- SHOWER OR TAKE A BATH WITHIN TWO HOURS OF BEING OUTDOORS. Wash in order to remove the unattached ticks.
- CHECK YOUR CLOTHES AFTER BEING OUTDOORS. Remove clothes and put them in the dryer for thirty minutes on high heat to kill the ticks.
- CHECK YOUR PETS FOR TICKS. Use tick collars and spot-on treatment. Perform regularly checks on your pet to ensure that you keep ticks out of your home.
- DESIGN A TICK-FREE YARD. Use landscaping in your favor. Place the patio or your kids’ playground away from shrubs and tall vegetation. Using wood chips, mulch or gravel barrier between lawns helps reducing contact with ticks.
- USE A PESTICIDE or call a professional pest control expert to give you a hand reducing the number of ticks in your yard. Consider a non-chemical pest control alternative.
- KEEP GRASS CUT SHORT. Rake your garden in order to remove the leaf-litter, where tick can hide.
- REMOVE PLANTS THAT ATTRACT DEER. Consider fencing your property.