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I am going to be honest with you. This girl was never really afraid of bugs when I was younger. I didn’t even know what a tick was to even be worried. But now, ticks are constantly in the news and on my social media feeds. Parents posting, “is this a bull’s-eye rash from a tick bite?” or “Do these symptoms sounds like Lyme Disease?” and so on. I didn’t even know how many different species of ticks there actually are. The best way to not get bit by a tick is to take precaution before heading outside. Check out these 5 ways to avoid tick bites.
1. Know Where Ticks Live
Earlier this week there was a Facebook post from my local TV station about a shrub that ticks love to live in, the Japanese Barberry. According to the article, the shrub acts as a nursery for deer ticks, which can carry Lyme Disease. Pennsylvania is home to one-third of all Lyme Disease cases in the United States, and studies have shown that not only are more deer ticks found in Barberry patches, those ticks are more apt to carry Lyme.
According to Terminix, ticks love moist and humid environments, but they can adapt to any number of different areas. I feel like no matter where you live, you could find a tick. Check out these maps from the CDC and find out what kind of tick is prevalent in your area.
2. Always Use a Tick Prevention Spray
There isn’t a fool-proof prevention spray that 100% deters ticks, so I always like to go with the all-natural route first. I make a homemade tick prevention spray using my Young Living oils. I use lemongrass and eucalyptus oils mixed with a small amount of water in a metal spray bottle. This mix gets sprayed on my family before we head outdoors. I spray from feet to head because I feel like ticks are more likely to get on your feet, but truly they can jump on anywhere.
You can also check out other bug sprays at your local stores for body and clothing. Please be aware of the amount of DEET and Permethrin used. There should be at least 20-30% DEET to be effective, but DEET makes me nervous with the kids, so I use cautiously. As for Permethrin, there needs to be 0.5% to be effective for tick prevention. Products with Permethrin in them are NOT safe for the body, only clothing.
3. Play in Sunny Areas
Ticks are less likely to be in dry, sunny areas. When you are planning to build or set up a playground in your yard, choose a sunny area that dries out easily. Same with any outdoor furniture. Stay away from thick, wooded areas. If you do have to venture into the woods, wear proper clothing, prevention sprays and try to stay on a cleared path.
4. Wear Proper Clothing
I know. I know. If it is hot out, the last thing I want to think about wearing are pants and long sleeves. But if I am going to be around high grass, a wooded area, or actually in the woods, then it is best that I wear long sleeves, pants and a hat to prevent ticks from getting on exposed skin. If you have long hair, braid it or make sure to pull it in a ponytail. You don’t want a tick hitching a ride on your hair.
5. Shower After You are Finished Outside
Make sure you check over your whole body while showering to ensure ticks are not present. Be sure to check warm spots on your body like behind your ears, under your armpits and between your fingers and toes. Ticks are tiny and can look like a freckle if you are not careful.