Tick bites can be dangerous to your health. They can spread Lyme disease, a potentially life-threatening infection that causes fever, fatigue, headache and a rash.
Tick Season is here, and while you may think it’s impossible to prevent tick bites, there are some simple things that you can do to reduce your risk. If you’re planning to enjoy the great outdoors this summer, experts have some tips to help prevent tick bites:
- Use repellents. DEET and picaridin are two common insect repellents that work against ticks. When using these products, follow the instructions on the product label carefully and apply only as directed. Don’t let children handle or apply insect repellent — even products labeled “safe for children” contain ingredients that could harm them if ingested or absorbed through the skin. If you have questions about possible side effects from using insect repellents on your child, talk with his or her doctor before applying the product.
- Avoid touching your face with bare hands while you’re outside. If possible, wear rubber gloves when gardening or doing yard work.
- Check yourself for ticks at least once a day after being outdoors (and after every outdoor activity if you are in an area where ticks are common). Use a hand mirror to view hard-to-see areas like the back of the head and neck. Look especially carefully under long hair because ticks often attach there before they begin feeding on humans or animals.
- Wear light-colored clothing, including socks and shoes, so that ticks can easily be seen. Tuck pant legs into socks, tuck shirt sleeves into pants, and wear closed-toed shoes.
How to remove ticks
Remove them with tweezers or other fine-tipped instrument as soon as possible after they bite you. If a tick is embedded in your skin when you remove it, use soap and water — don’t squeeze or pull at the tick because it could release more bacteria into your bloodstream.