These creepy crawlers who like to dig in and suck your blood give most people the heebie jeebies. Add the grim reality that you can contract a number diseases from ticks, such as Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Colorado Tick Fever, or tularemia – and they seem even scarier.
Unpleasant as that may sound, don’t let it prevent you from enjoying the outdoors. It’s part of the adventure, right? Ok, maybe not. But there are a number of things you can do to protect yourself and your little ones when venturing out into nature.
Tick Safety Tips for Families
So how can you best keep your family safe from ticks this season? I did some research, as well as polled a panel of outdoor bloggers to gather some of their best tips. Here’s the most helpful information I found on keeping your family safe from ticks this season.
When Is Tick Season?
Knowing when ticks are most likely to strike will equip you to be most vigilant in your prevention when the danger is highest.
Ticks go through different life cycles. Humans are most at risk from them during spring and summer months – typically April through September.
Are Ticks a Danger in Your Area?
They may not be. Knowing where you need to worry about taking tick precautions is a good start.
Low temperatures inhibit their development. Ticks tend to flourish and be most commonly found in warm, humid climates since they require moisture in the air to undergo metamorphosis.
According to GIS studies (performed over the concern of Lyme Disease transmittance), certain features are good predictors of dense tick populations: sandy soil, hardwood trees, rivers, and the presence of deer. Ticks are most commonly found in wooded or brushy areas, and in tall vegetation.
If that describes where your family spends time outdoors, you may want to take heed of the following advice for tick safety.
Prevention Tips for Tick Safety
- Walk in the center of the trail, avoid too much contact with the vegetation on either side.
- Wear light colored clothing (so ticks can be easily seen and brushed off).
- Wear pants tucked into longer socks.
- Apply insect repellant, specifically the brands designed to repel ticks. But avoid use of DEET-containing repellents on children. (We’ve had success with the gentle Skin-So-Soft line for toddlers… at least for mosquitos. It also says it works to repel deer ticks.)
- Try clothing with a chemical repellant (one option is an ingredient call Insect Shield)
- Cover up skin if possible, wearing long sleeves, collared shirts, and hats with brims.
- Avoid sitting directly on the ground, or on fallen logs.
- One outdoor enthusiast reports success against ticks in Idaho from using Repel’s Lemon Eucalyptus spray.
- Always perform a tick check after being outdoors. The sooner, the better! Their favorite areas are the hairline and “hot areas” of the body.
- Don’t forget your dogs! Be sure to treat them monthly during tick season with prevention medicine – it works wonders. Years ago, my Husky and I learned this lesson the hard (really gross) way… to the tune of about 20+ engorged ticks buried in his thick neck fur.
- Put your clothes in the dryer on high heat once you get home. They can survive the washing machine, but not the heat.
And if you are unfortunate enough to have one of these buggers get his hooks into you, here’s a good article on how to safely remove them.
Enjoy the Outdoors, Tick-Free
Be safe out there this season and have fun in the outdoors with your family! If you are prepared, it goes a long way towards eliminating issues like ticks. Then you can just take away happy memories of your time spent enjoying nature … and not any extra little visitors who wished they could tag along.
Please share your ideas with us… what has worked for you in the fight against ticks?
*o* *o* *o*