Enjoy the outdoors without ticks
ticks – Whether you love playing sports like golf and fishing or you like reading a book in the backyard, warm weather offers many opportunities to spend time outside. However, a recent increase in Lyme disease and risk of other cases of tick-borne disease means it’s important to be careful of ticks.
The best way to protect against these potential diseases is to prevent tick bites. If your outdoor adventures take you near grassy, wooded or forested areas, here are some ways to protect yourself from getting bitten by a tick:
Choose the right clothes. Wearing light-coloured long-sleeved shirts and pants can help you spot ticks more easily, and closed toe shoes provide the best protection. For extra defence against ticks, tuck your shirt into your pants and pull your socks over your pant legs.
Protect yourself with bug spray. Choose one that contains DEET or Icaridin and use it on your skin and clothing. Always follow the directions on the label and reapply as often as indicated. Once you’re outside, try to stay on cleared paths or walkways.
Do regular tick checks. Regular full-body checks for ticks on yourself and your children are important. Pay special attention in and around the ears and hair, under arms, inside the belly button and around the waist, behind knees and between legs and toes. Don’t forget to check your outdoor gear and pets too, as they could easily carry ticks inside your home.
Hit the water. Shower or bathe within two hours of being outdoors as part of your regular tick check and to remove ticks that haven’t attached yet. If you find an attached tick, remove it with tweezers immediately and wash the bite area and yours hands with soap and water to help prevent infection.
Use the power of heat. Put dry outdoor clothes in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill any undetected ticks. If your clothes are damp, additional drying time is needed. If you need to wash your clothes first, hot water is recommended. If the clothes cannot be washed in hot water, tumble dry on low heat for 90 minutes or high heat for 60 minutes.
Visit your healthcare professional. If you have found a tick but are not comfortable with removing it, or you can’t remove it because it has buried itself deep into your skin, contact your healthcare professional. Be certain to go if you feel unwell or are concerned about your health following a tick bite.