Summer Is Here: Be Sure to Protect Yourself Against Ticks and Mosquitoes

If you’re planning on spending time outdoors this summer, one of your most important considerations should be how to protect yourself against ticks and mosquitoes. In addition to being an uncomfortable nuisance, ticks and mosquitoes can transmit disease and cause serious, long-lasting medical conditions.

Ticks are associated with Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, while mosquitoes have been known to carry West Nile virus and, in some parts of the United States, Zika. These are diseases that can have prolonged effects, and everyone would be wise to take all the precautions necessary to prevent exposure. By following these simple tips you’ll be able to protect you and your family all summer long!

1. Cover Up!

The most simple and effective way to protect yourself against ticks and mosquitoes is to wear the appropriate clothing. Even though it may seem counterintuitive during the heat of summer, you should always wear long clothing while hiking or enjoying wooded areas. Wear long sleeve shirts and tuck pant legs into your socks to cover as much exposed skin as possible. Protection for your head is as simple as a hat and people with long hair should tie it up and off the neck. A bandana should be worn to protect the back of the neck from pests and will also serve the purpose of limiting UV exposure.

2. Use Repellent

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Environmental Protection Agency both recommend using mosquito repellents that have, as their active ingredient, either DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol, or 2-undecanone. Only DEET, picaridin and IR3535 are effective against ticks and need to be used in higher concentrations. These repellants should be applied to all exposed skin, taking care around eyes and the mouth. Adults should apply repellant to young children and infants over the age of two months avoiding the hands, eyes, and mouth. And remember, if you are using repellant in conjunction with sunscreen, apply the repellant last. Spraying repellent on shoes can also be a helpful deterrent, as ticks do not fly or jump. They usually attach themselves at the lower points of the body and work their way up.

3. Check Yourself

The first thing you should do after a hike or prolonged time spent in tick-prone areas is shower. This should wash away any pests that have not had a chance to attach themselves. The second step is to perform a complete body check beginning with the scalp. Use a comb to thoroughly go through your hair and then work your way down the body checking skin folds, belly button, private parts, and behind your ears and knees. Parents should check their children, and adults should have someone else check their backs. Putting clothes in the dryer on high heat should kill any hitchhikers that may have tagged along for the ride. Also, don’t forget about your best friend! If your dogs accompanied you on your hike, they need to be checked as well. A good brushing and a monthly preventative pill should do the trick to protect them.

4. How to Remove a Tick

If your search does turn up a tick that is already embedded in the skin, use pointy tweezers to remove it. Grasp it as close to the head as possible and pull straight out, slowly but firmly, making sure to get the entire head. After you remove it, clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol. Monitor the bite area to make sure no rash develops and seek medical attention if needed.

We Hope Our Tips Help You Protect Yourself Against Ticks and Mosquitoes This Summer!

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