Tick Tips: Simple Ways to Avoid Tick Bites

Ben Bowman, IWLA Intern
Deer tick

Memorial Day signals the unofficial start of summer, and with it the onset of warm weather perfect for barbeques, long days at the pool or beach, and fun outdoor activities like hiking and biking. The warm weather also brings some outdoor hazards, including ticks. Ticks are harmful to human health as they are carriers of diseases including Lyme’s Disease, Spotted Fever Rickettsiosis, Babesiosis, and others. (Learn more from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)

Thankfully there are a few quick and easy methods which can be used to help avoid these hazards. Ticks like to hide in tall grass and cool, shady areas, so avoiding areas with tall grass and brush piles can help prevent tick bites. Using insecticides or bug repellents on clothing also keeps ticks away. (EPA has a list of approved insecticides and repellents.) Tucking your pants into your socks is another method that could reduce the chances of tick bites. (All the cool people wear their pants tucked into their socks. Trust us on this.) Showering soon after going outdoors, and thoroughly checking for ticks, are also important.

Keep these quick and easy tick bite prevention methods in mind every time you gear up to spend a day in the outdoors this summer! If you do find yourself with a tick bite, carefully remove the embedded tick. Clean the area with rubbing alcohol, then grasp the tick close to the head with tweezers and pull upward. Check in with your health regularly after that – if you have any disease symptoms, or the characteristic bullseye rash, see your doctor to get treated ASAP!

Don’t let a fear of ticks keep you from spending time outside. Preventative measures and good tick-sense will keep you safe all summer long.