The birds are chirping, flowers are blooming, and yes, the ticks are looming. You may have already spotted a few ticks, especially if you enjoy the outdoors. April is usually the month that many ticks hatch from their eggs, however, in many parts of the country ticks began hatching earlier than normal. With this early jump on the season, ticks are going to be in abundance this year. Not only are ticks difficult to remove from the skin, but there is also the risk of infection or Lyme disease. The good news is that there are a number of ways to protect yourself from tick bites.
Many different brands of insect repellent exist. The label usually lists ticks as one of the insects that the spray or lotion repels. A good tick repellent also contains 10-30% DEET. Whenever you go outdoors for an extended amount of time, especially in the woods, spray a repellent on your clothes and exposed skin. Make sure to avoid spraying your face. You do not want to get the spray or lotion in your eyes or mouth.
Your choice of clothing is important because you can prevent ticks from getting onto your skin and hair. Wearing light-colored clothing allows you to easily spot ticks that may be crawling on you. As you venture out into the deep woods, wear a long-sleeved shirt and long pants. By tucking your pants-leg into your boots or socks, you can prevent ticks from climbing up your leg. Also, tuck your shirt into your pants to prevent ticks from entering from underneath your shirt. Wearing a hat or cap can prevent ticks from getting into your hair. Once a tick burrows down into your hair, it is hard to find and even harder to get out.
Ticks love tall, thick grasses and shrubbery. Keeping your lawn well maintained can help to prevent tick infestation. Mow your grass regularly to prevent overgrowth. If you have lots of shrubs, keep them edged and thinned out.
While enjoying the outdoors, be aware of where you are standing, walking, or sitting. The simple act of leaning or rubbing against a tree can increase your chances of getting a tick somewhere on your body. Do not sit on logs or in tall grasses. While hiking, stay near the center of the walking trails. If you venture out into the woods, have someone check your hair afterward. Ticks can easily fall from limbs onto your head.
Do not let ticks keep you from enjoying the outdoors. Everyone can benefit from spending some time outside. By taking a few simple precautions you can keep ticks away. Just remember to pay attention to your actions and your surroundings. Dress appropriately and use a repellent before going outside, especially into a wooded area. Also, be sure to carefully inspect yourself afterwards.