Mosquitoes truly are summer’s biggest annoyance. Not only do they emit that sound, which can irritate a person with the strongest of nerves, but they also bite us and spread diseases.
There is another type of pest, though, that you should look out for in summer. You need to be as careful with these as with mosquitoes. We’re talking about ticks. They, too, carry many diseases that might even be life-threatening if not treated properly.
What Are Ticks?
Ticks are very small, parasitic pests that live off the blood of humans, mammals, birds, and even reptiles.
Ticks do serve quite an important ecological role in the natural selection of animals. But, they are still dangerous and can carry diseases like Lyme disease, encephalitis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Colorado tick fever, babesiosis, tularemia, and more.
How To Avoid Ticks
Here are five easy things you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones from the bites of these vicious summer pests and the diseases they carry.
Using a tick repellent is a common way to protect yourself from mosquitoes. The good news is that many of these same bug sprays also work on ticks. This is especially true for those repellents that contain at least 20% DEET. These will keep ticks away and won’t give them the chance to bite you.
If you know that you’re going to be visiting places that could have ticks this summer, you should also treat your clothing with a repellent that contains at least 0.5% permethrin. This insect repellent is specially designed to be long-lasting and very efficient. It will stay on your clothing for weeks and can even withstand washing, ensuring you’re extra protected from ticks.
Avoid wooded areas, bushes, and tall grass
Ticks like to live in trees, bushes, and tall grass. This means that when you’re walking in the woods, through a field, or just around your garden, you should be extra careful to avoid these areas.
If possible, we’d recommend walking down the center of any trail or path. This will give ticks less of a change to stick (that rhymed!) to your clothing or skin.
Since ticks can’t survive in warm, dry places for long, they tend to hide in shady, humid areas. So, avoid these as much as possible and stay in the sun if you want to lower your chances of getting a tick bite.
Choose long clothing in light colors
Speaking of clothing, not only you should treat your clothing with repellents, but you should also choose long clothing in light colors.
Long clothing will ensure that the ticks don’t have good access to your skin. This means that even if they manage to get on your clothing, you can stop them from biting you. Choose clothing with form-fitting ends, like pants and shirts with elastic bands around the ankles, wrists, and neck. This will also make it harder for the ticks to reach your skin.
You should opt for lighter clothing simply because you’ll be able to spot the ticks better so that you can remove them before they do any damage. Ticks mostly have dark bodies, so they’ll be easier to spot against light colors.
Shower and wash your clothes after coming indoors
On top of that, make sure you shower after coming indoors, so you can remove all ticks before they have the chance to bite you.
You should also wash your clothing on high heat or tumble dry it for a minimum of 10 minutes. This will kill all ticks that might have attached themselves to your clothing, preventing them from entering your home.
Do tick checks regularly
Even if you’ve only walked around your backyard or worked in your garden, studies actually show that one of the most common places people catch tick-borne diseases is around their homes. So keep this in mind. Check yourself, your kids, and your pets for ticks regularly. If you can remove ticks early on, you won’t give them the chance to damage your health or the health of those close to you.