It’s going to be a bad year for ticks, I can tell already. So far this year I have found four of them; one in my car and three on my clothes, all after taking walks in woodsy, swampy areas. My boyfriend found one inside his shirt the other day; one friend and his girlfriend found three between the two of them after a walk a few days ago.
Deer ticks are very common and are notorious for transmitting diseases, so it is important to take some precautionary measures whenever you venture into a place that you are likely to pick up ticks.
You will need:
* Insect repellents
* Duct tape (optional)
1. Use an insect repellent that is at least 20% Deet. Spray your skin (be careful around your face!) as well as your clothing. Pay special attention to anywhere there is a gap between garments, as this is where ticks will gain access to your flesh!
2. Whenever possible, eliminate these gaps between garments. Tuck your shirt into the waistband of your pants; likewise, tuck the legs of your pants into your socks. If you are in an area where ticks are particularly abundant, you may even want to put a strip of duct tape around your tucked-in pants at the point where they meet your socks. It may look ridiculous, but it will keep your legs tick-free!
3. Wear light-colored clothing. This makes it easy to spot the dark-colored ticks if they do happen to find their way onto you.
4. Ticks hang out in grasses and underbrush, waiting for a host to walk by. Staying on a beaten path and not straying into grassy fields or woods with dense undergrowth greatly reduces your chances of picking up ticks. If you head off the path and notice a very large population of ticks (check the legs of your pants frequently for unwanted guests), it’s a good idea to turn around and go back!
5. When you get home, do a thorough check for ticks. Check every bit of skin, and don’t forget to check your hair! If you took your pets out, inspect them too. Don’t let pets or kids go running through the house until after they have been inspected and are tick-free!
6, Wash you clothes right away, and dry them on high heat. Your washing machine, even on its hottest setting, may not be enough to kill any ticks that are lingering in your clothing. But they are very, very unlikely to survive a hot blast in the dryer.
7. If you are bitten by a tick, remove it by grabbing it with tweezers as close to the head as possible and pulling straight out. Do not use other methods such as those involving fire or chemicals. These methods could cause the tick to regurgitate its stomach contents into your bloodstream, greatly increasing your chances of contracting diseases.