How to Protect Yourself from Ticks
Tick-borne diseases in humans are on the rise. The bite of a tick transmits a host of illnesses, including lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and babesiosis, an infection that destroys red blood cells. If you spend any time in woodland grasses, you need to know some tips that’ll protect you from ticks.
Stay on well-worn trails during your nature outings. Don’t walk through the tall grasses and dense foliage that are common tick habitats.
Wear light-colored clothing. Doing so will make it easier to see a tiny tick if it lands on you. Ticks are dark colored.
Cover up. It’s a lot harder for ticks to bite you if you’re covered from head to toe. That means no sandals. Closed-toed shoes only. No shorts or short sleeves. Opt for pants and long-sleeved shirts. Tuck your pant legs into your socks or hiking boots for extra protection.
Ticks are opportunistic little rascals and will even attach themselves to stands of your hair in an effort to get to a good biting spot like your neck or head. Tuck your hair under a hat or scarf so you don’t give a tick a free ride.
Use insect repellent. Brands that contain 20 to 30 percent of the ingredient commonly referred to as DEET are most effective, but you’ll have to reapply the product every few hours. DEET repellents are available at most drug and discount department stores, but beware. DEET is toxic and can cause serious injury if you get it in your eyes or ingest it. So never apply the product to your hands or face. Ask your pediatrician before using a DEET repellent on your children.
You can spray insect repellent on your clothes. Permethrin, which can be purchased at stores that sell hunting and camping equipment, will stay on your clothes through several washings. Permethrin is not safe to apply to your skin. You can also treat your clothes with DEET, but you’ll need to reapply it throughout the day.