Everywhere you look nowadays, ticks are being mentioned–it seems like an infestation is underway. Laima and I lived through a cyclical infestation in Florida, spending countless hours picking ticks off our adventure dogs (worst was between the toes!). One scary fact we learned is that ticks can drop off trees, not just hide in long grass. Yuck.
Lyme disease is the fastest growing infectious disease and the most common tick-borne disease in the country, according to the Center for Disease Control, but there are numerous other diseases that ticks can pass along, as well.
There is currently no full-proof diagnostic tool for Lyme disease, causing thousands of people to often go misdiagnosed and without appropriate treatment.
Many sufferers of tick-borne illnesses are not even aware that they are victims of these diseases because they simply don’t have the facts. The Tick-Borne Disease Alliance (TBDA) is spreading the word about one of the season’s biggest dangers—the tick.
Top 10 Tick Prevention Tips
Purchase tick-repellent clothing, especially clothing treated with permethrin, an insecticide that repels and kills ticks. You may spray your own clothing with permethrin or seek out brands such as Insect Shield, ExOfficio’s BugsAway or ElimiTick from retailers like L.L. Bean and Eastern Mountain Sports, which remain effective for up to 70 washes.
- Reduce the amount of skin exposed by sporting long pants, long-sleeved shirts and a hat
- EPA-approved insect repellent should be applied to exposed skin
- Venture in the center of woodland trails, and by all means avoid walking along any deer paths
- Every time you’ve been outside, check for ticks while you are out and as soon as you get back
- Never wait to shower. Bathing as soon as possible will help in removing unattached ticks from your body. Bath time is the perfect time to carefully inspect for any unwanted hitchhikers.
- Take your clothes off and put them in the dryer at high heat for about 30 minutes to kill any ticks
- Inspect your adventure dogs when they come inside from the outdoors, as they may be transporting ticks that can then transfer to you*
- Opt for light-colored clothing to make it easier to spot ticks
- Neatly tuck your shirt into your pants and your pants legs into your socks when possible to provide an extra line of defense against ticks
*Ticks aren’t the only worry for your dogs – keep them safe during the holidays as well.