Whether taking your dog for a walk, hiking in the woods, or just playing with family in the yard, we all love the outdoors. However, every time you enjoy the outdoors, you're also putting yourself at risk of picking up ticks.
Ticks carry a wide range of diseases that can wreak havoc on your body and health. The most common and well-known health risk of ticks is Lyme disease. Help limit your chance of picking up ticks by following our suggested tips below.
Treating Your Clothing
One of the best ways to ward off ticks is the treatment of your clothing. Sawyers Tick Repellent is a great product to treat your clothes. Simply hang your apparel up outside and spray the Sawyers Tick Repellent over every inch of the material. Do not spray your clothing while wearing it, this is very important to note. The Sawyers tick repelling spray will soak into your clothing as it dries. Wait several hours, or even one day, to completely dry before wearing them. Once treated with Sawyers, your clothing will stay protected for two to three washes before needing to be treated again.
Wear Muck Boots or Gaiters/Chaps
Ticks usually catch a ride on you as you walk through high grass and weeds. Wearing Muck boots or a pair of gaiters/chaps provides an excellent bearer that can be quickly taken off once you are done with your activities. At Lion Country Supply, we sell an array of chaps and gaiters. Some of our customer favorites are the LCS Water Proof Gaiters and the LCS Warm Weather Chaps. These simply slip over your pants, hook to the top of your boot, and then around your leg.
Avoid Wearing White
There are pros and cons to the debate of wearing white while being outdoors. Some say to wear bright, light colors, such as white, to be able to easily see ticks that are on you. Others say to wear dark clothes because ticks are less attracted to those. However, wearing dark-colored clothing makes it difficult to distinguish ticks already on you.
Personally, I have tested both methods and I believe in wearing dark clothing. My advice, avoid wearing white shoes or socks! My wife and I went for a hike earlier this year. I was wearing dark colored shoes and camo pants, she was wearing white shoes, white socks, and light blue pants. Upon getting home, I did a thorough check of both of us. I found a half dozen ticks crawling on her and not a single one on me. If you are going to wear white socks, wear pants that are long enough to tuck them into your shoes or take it to the extreme and duct tape your pants to your shoes to create a seal from exposed skin.
After Your Hike, Strip Down and Check
One of the greatest pieces of advice on tick prevention I can offer is to strip off all exterior clothing and either wash it or throw it in the drier at high heat as soon as possible. Drying at high heat will kill any ticks on the clothing. Once stripped down, check your legs and arms first. These are the areas where ticks usually get on skin first. Next, check your chest and back. Then head, arm pits, and private areas. Ticks will generally make their ways to those areas if left unfound on your body.
Shower As Soon As Possible
Showering as soon as you can after being exposed to outdoors is the next step to make sure that no ticks are left on your body. Use antibacterial soaps and shampoos, washing every area of your body. This will wash away any ticks or they will be killed by the soap. The least amount of time you go from being exposed to outdoors to showering is best. The longer a tick is on your body, the higher the chance they will borrow into your skin, exposing you to risks of disease transfer.
Quick Removal If Bit
The longer a tick is borrowed into your skin, the larger the risk for transfer of diseases. If you do happen to find a tick on you, try and get it out as soon as possible, making sure to remove the entire tick. We sell two different sizes of tick release solutions that help make the tick back out for easier and more complete removal. Tick release solutions also reduce healing time, irritation, and the chances of secondary infection.
We also have two different Lyme test products to test to see if the tick was carrying Lyme disease. The first is called Lymealyzer, which is an in-house test kit. The second is from Earth Balance and is called Tick Releaser Spray and Mail-in Test Kit, which includes a tick release spray, tweezers, collection tube, alcohol pad, and mail-in form. If you choose to mail in the kit, they test for seven diseases carried by ticks. If bitten by a tick and you get any kind of rash or bulls-eye, see your doctor immediately to be tested for Lyme disease.
Being smart about your exposure to areas likely to have ticks is your best defense. Plan ahead if you know you're going in the woods or an area with tall weeds. If you are out hiking, running your dog, or any activity in the woods, it is important to make sure to do the post activity check and clean up. Following our tips will greatly reduce your risk of exposure to those nasty diseases and creepy crawling ticks.