As the weather improves, more of us are spending time outdoors, but with this comes the increased presence of ticks. These little critters can be a nuisance and a health hazard, so it's essential to take steps to avoid them and stay safe. Here are some good suggestions from the Lyme Disease Organization's website:

Avoid Tick Habitat

Ticks are often found close to the ground in areas like leaf litter, grasses, bushes, and fallen logs. Activities such as playing in leaves, gathering firewood, or leaning against tree trunks can increase your risk of encountering ticks. To minimize exposure, stay on cleared trails during hikes instead of wandering through grassy fields.

Dress Defensively

Wearing the right clothing can make a significant difference. Opt for shoes, socks, long pants, and long sleeves. Tie back long hair and wear a hat to further protect yourself. Light-colored clothing is preferable because it makes it easier to spot ticks.

You can also invest in clothing pre-treated with permethrin, a repellent that can be purchased at outdoor stores or online at Insect Shield. This treatment remains effective for up to 70 washings. Alternatively, you can buy permethrin spray and treat your clothes at home, which lasts for about 5–6 washings. Insect Shield also offers a service where you can send your clothing to be treated, extending the protection's duration significantly.

Use Repellent on Exposed Skin

Applying repellents directly to your skin provides another layer of defense. Products containing DEET, picaridin, or lemon eucalyptus oil are highly effective in repelling ticks.

Check for Ticks

Regularly inspect your clothing and skin for ticks while you are outdoors. Brush off any ticks that aren’t attached and remove any that are as soon as possible.

Shower and Inspect

After returning indoors, take a shower immediately to wash away any unattached ticks. This is also an excellent time to conduct a thorough tick inspection. Pay special attention to hidden areas like the groin, armpits, back of the knees, belly button, and scalp. Parents should carefully check their children as well.

Hot Dryer

Running your clothes in a hot dryer for 10 minutes before washing them can effectively kill any ticks present.

Protect Your Pets

Pets are also susceptible to tick bites and can bring ticks into your home. Consult your veterinarian about the best tick protection for your pets to keep them safe and reduce the risk of ticks entering your living space.

By following these guidelines, you can enjoy our North Dakota outdoors while minimizing the risk of tick encounters and the illnesses they can carry. Stay vigilant and take preventive measures to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.

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