Tips and Tricks for Pesky Ticks

Have a child who loves to play outdoors? Then take note of these updated facts and tips about an ever-present summer pest: the tick.

Over the last several years, tick bites and cases of tick-related diseases have steadily risen in the United States. The Washington Post blogged that Lyme disease may be the fastest growing disease in the world, while the New York Times described the dangers of babesiosis, a new malaria-like sickness transmitted via ticks.

But its summertime and children want to enjoy the warm months outside. So how do you prevent tick bites and stop the chances of illness? Follow the steps below!

* Understand the Danger – Warm months (usually April to September) are considered prime time for these tiny bugs. They thrive in humidity and wooded areas, so know the possibility of tick bites exists when camping or playing outdoors. Also, avoid brushing against plants when walking near trees or bushes.
* Wear Bug Repellent – Use products that have 20 percent or more DEET in them for your skin or clothing, and repellent that contains permethrin for clothing, backpacks, or camping equipment. Remember to reapply DEET-based products after several hours or following exposure to water.
* Sleeves, Pants, and Socks – Try to wear light colored clothing, with long sleeves, pants, and foot coverage. The less skin shown, the less chance of a bite. If steamy weather prevents this option, remember to perform a thorough tick check, since you are at a higher risk for exposure.
* Check the Sweet Spots – Ticks often hide in places less obvious on the body, so remember to look under the arms, around the ears, inside the belly button, behind the knees, and always search your hair. It’s also smart to shower soon after you’re back inside, and go through your dirty clothes to see if you’ve carried any back home.
* Protect the Backyard – Spray your backyard with a bug prevention agent in springtime to help eliminate ticks. Don’t put your play areas in wooded environments, and use rocks, gravel, or wood chips to separate trees and vegetation from play areas. This keeps ticks more or less in one spot, opposed to throughout the whole yard.
* Don’t Forget the Pets! – Dogs and cats can track in all sorts of creatures, so be prepared to shell out a little cash for tick prevention. Buy a tick repellent collar or speak to your veterinarian about the best possible solution for your furry friends.

Know any other tips about ticks? Share your comments below!
All tips based off of information from the Center for Disease Control and the “Stop Ticks on People” organization.

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