How to Protect Against Ticks In the Woods

How to Protect Against Ticks In the Woods

Ticks are an ever-present problem in many forests around the country.  The growing list of diseases they carry makes it important for all of us take steps to protect ourselves from being bitten.  The good news is that preventing problems is easier than most people think as long as certain basic precautions are made before heading out.  Let's take a look at simple ways that you can minimize exposure while you're enjoying the outdoors.


Cover Exposed Skin

The single and most important thing that we can do is cover exposed skin while we are hiking or spending time in areas that are known to host ticks.  Wearing long-sleeve, plaid shirts, jeans and tall socks can go a long way toward keeping ticks at bay.  Most tick bites occur when they crawl or land on exposed skin rather than from them burrowing beneath clothing or other obstructions.  Consequently, covering up is the most-effective first line of defense that we can take.


Use Effective Repellent

The second line of defense is to apply effective tick repellent to the skin, and make sure to reapply as directed so that it doesn't lose its potency over time.  Apply the repellent to the hands, calves, face, neck and shoulders as needed in order to discourage ticks from latching on to exposed skin.  If wearing long clothes is not a practical option for you, then a good repellent can provide almost the same level of protection.  The key is to use good repellent.  Do some research, read reviews and avoid a lot of homemade remedies that are largely untested. 


Inspect Hair

This is something that most people don't think about doing when leaving the woods, but most tick bites occur after a trip is over.  Ticks fall into hair and can remain there for days before moving toward the scalp and then on to other areas of the body.  Ticks embedded in hair can also fall off from time to time, and this can increase the risk of other people getting bitten if they come into contact with the critter.  They can end up on furniture, sheets, under blankets or mixed with clothing and then pose a risk once we use those items. 


Inspecting hair can be a mildly-tedious process, but it's one of the most effective ways to ensure that ticks are not hitching a ride with their human counterparts.  Make sure that you look thoroughly through hair, under good light, in order to locate and remove any ticks that may be present.


Finally, don't forget to place a fresh tick collar on your dog if you will be taking it with you on your next trip.  Tick problems on dogs can be very persistent and require a lot of bathing and cleaning before they are completely removed.  In the meantime, they can spread ticks throughout your site, vehicle or home.  Snapping on a fresh collar is the single, best way to avoid having to deal with an infestation later. 


Following these simple guidelines can dramatically lower the chances of being exposed to ticks.  While they require some effort on our part, prevention is still the most effective way to protect you and your family.