Tick Bites: How To Avoid These Irksome (And Dangerous) Little Parasites
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You can get a tick bite year-round, but ticks are most active during the warmer months, mostly between April and September. It is also more common to get a tick bite when you are more active outdoors and might be camping or gardening.
Before you head outdoors, you need to know that ticks live in grassy, wooded or bushy areas. They also might live on animals. Make sure your pets are protected with flea and tick guard medicine so they don’t get infected or bring ticks inside your home. Keep in mind that whenever you spend time outdoors, especially if you are camping, gardening or hunting, you are the most susceptible to getting a tick bite.
Before heading outdoors, treat your clothing and gear with products containing 0.5% permethrin. It can be used to treat boots, clothing and even camping gear to prevent ticks from latching on.
You can also use insect repellent products containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE), para-menthane-diol (PMD), or 2-undecanone. However, you should not use these chemical products on babies or young children.
When outdoors, avoid heavily wooded or brushy areas and walk in the center of trails. When you come inside, make sure to inspect your clothing and body thoroughly for ticks. Don’t forget to check your hair too!
If you do find a tick on your clothing, remove it and throw the clothes in the dryer on high heat for at least 10 minutes. If you have to wash your clothes first, use hot water.
Make sure to shower within two hours of coming indoors to reduce your risk of a tick bite. It may help wash off unattached ticks that you missed in your inspection. Make sure to check under your arms, in and around the ears, inside your belly button, in and around your hair, the back of your knees, between your legs and around your waist. Check your pets and children as well, and don’t forget to check your gear if you bring it indoors.
Preventing ticks and tick bites is the best way to reduce your risk of developing Lyme disease, which affects many parts of the body.
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