Spring brings warmer days, more time outdoors, and a pesky little bug that if you’re not careful could cause some big problems. Ticks spread Lyme disease, which was the fifth most common Nationally Notifiable Disease in 2009.
Approximately 800 species exist worldwide, and of that number 100 of these carry diseases. There are about 25,000 reported cases of Lyme disease in the U.S. annually. Here are some tips to help prevent tick bites and reduce your risk of illness.
- That grass is whack. Avoid wooded areas and tall grass, because ticks like to populate these places.
- Bug “Off.” Add an extra layer of protection with insect repellent.
- Cover up. Wear light-colored long pants and sleeves. Always tuck pants into your socks or boots.
- Take the path less travelled…or in this case don’t. Stay on cleared, open trails. Avoid walking close to shrub-lined areas and stay in the center of the path.
- Ditch the flip-flops. Wear enclosed shoes when hiking or playing in grassy areas.
- Work that updo. Keep long hair tied back, especially when gardening.
- Tick check. Always do a full-body scan at the end of the day. Don’t forget about your pets.
- Take a Shower. It takes several hours for a tick to attach itself to your body, so scrubbing with a loofa or washcloth will remove any parasites that may be on you.
- Do your laundry. If you’ve been in a wooded area, crank that spin cycle to hot because it will kill any ticks hiding in your clothes.
- Ouch, Charlie that hurts! If there’s a tick attached to your skin, NEVER squish it—rather remove it with tweezers.
- Proper disposal. If you do find a tick, place it in a jar of alcohol and call your local state Board of Health.