From late spring to early fall the risk of getting a tick bite elevates. While tick bites are harmless in many cases, certain species of the bug have been associated with the spread of forms of chronic disease, including Lyme disease and the Powassun virus (POW). Lyme disease, for example, although treatable, can lead to a range of symptoms, including muscle pain, fever and fatigue. POW can engender similar symptoms, although it is less treatable and in some cases can be life-threatening.
It is important, therefore, for individuals to take steps to reduce the likelihood of tick bites. This is especially crucial among those who engage in activities in wooded or grassy areas, such as camping, biking and hiking. Here is a guide of surefire tips for ensuring tick safety this summer:
1. Keep a safe distance from risk areas
Those who enjoy hiking or other woodland pursuits are advised to avoid areas where tick infestations may be particularly high, such as deep in the woods or in overly long grass. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggested that a more prudent way for people to hike is by following designated paths and trails and avoiding unkempt areas.
2. Wear appropriate clothing
While exploring areas with high tick populations it is important for individuals to wear clothing that protects skin, Care2 advised. This is especially true for the legs and feet, as ticks tend to be found at ground level. Sensible garments include long pants, long sleeves, boots and a hat. The material should be light for individuals to avoid risk of heat stroke in the summer. It is helpful for people to tuck their clothes in to prevent any gaps where the bugs could latch on to the skin.
3. Use repellant
Tick repellant is an essential safeguard against bites. The CDC explained that the product must contain either picaridin or DEET in levels in excess of 20 percent. It is important for users to add the repellant to both skin and clothing, avoiding areas such as the eyes and mouth.
4. Perform a body check
After spending time outside in tick-prone areas, individuals should check themselves and their clothing for any signs of a tick or a tick bite. Care2 explained that ticks are commonly found in areas such as between the legs, under the arms, on the back of the knees, in the hair and the inside the belly button. If individuals find a tick, it should be removed with tweezers in a gentle fashion. The tick should be kept, if possible, and given to a physician for testing. Those who have been bitten should keep an eye out for symptoms of tick-borne illnesses.