As promised in last week’s column, I am going to provide a little additional information to help you avoid a pesky tick bite as we enjoy the spring and summer season. Here are ten tips for high-risk areas:
• Use insect repellant with 20 percent DEET or higher on your skin and clothing. Carefully apply the repellent by hand to your face, neck, and ears – you do not want DEET in your eyes or mouth! Adults should apply DEET products to young children. You may need to reapply DEET products after several hours.
• Apply permethrin to clothing, hiking boots, tents and camp chairs. Permethrin products should never be used on skin. It remains effective on clothing through several washings. Permethrin is also sold under the names Permanone and Duranon.
• Wear light-coloured clothing. You will have a better chance of seeing a dark tick crawling on you before it makes its way to your skin.
• Wear long pants with sneakers or hiking boots. Tuck your pant legs into your socks, and keep your shirt tucked into your waistband. In areas where ticks are abundant, you may even want to wrap duct tape around your ankles, over the top of your socks. You will look ridiculous, but it makes it harder for ticks to find your skin.
• Outfit yourself in bug repellent apparel. Want a sporty, outdoor look with built-in tick protection? Sporting goods stores often sell clothing that is pretreated with permethrin. The treatment lasts for up to 70 washes.
• Stay on marked and maintained trails. Ticks hang out in high vegetation, waiting for a passing host. When your leg brushes through the vegetation, the tick transfers to your body. Walk on designated trails, and avoid blazing your own through meadows or other high vegetation areas.
• Avoid tick-infested places. In some places, ticks may be too abundant to avoid, even with the best repellents and long pants. If you venture a few feet into a wooded area or field and find your legs covered with ticks, get out of there and remove all ticks.
• Be vigilant – do a daily tick check. Strip down and search all those places that ticks love to hide: in your hair, under your arms, between your legs, behind the knees, and even in your belly button.
• Put your clothes in the dryer, and tumble them on high heat. Research shows many ticks can make it through the washing machine, even when you wash in hot water. Most ticks will die during a cycle in the hot, dry air of your clothes dryer, though.
• Check your pets and children before letting them loose in the house. Ticks can drop off on carpets or furniture.
I am aware that some of this information is enough to make you want to curl up in your favourite chair and never leave the house again, but that is not a healthy decision to make. We need to be outside and actively engaged in our favourite activities, but we also need to exercise heightened caution as the issue of ticks and Lyme disease become increasingly prevalent. Get out and enjoy. If you would like additional information try www.canlyme.com.