How to avoid tick bites this summer

Summer is here and it's time to enjoy everything the great outdoors has to offer! Of course, a new season can mean a new slate of health risks for you and your loved ones. If you love to go camping or hiking in the woods, you'll need to be mindful of tick bites!

While sunscreen with insect repellent can go a long way toward preventing insect bites, most DEET bug sprays are ineffective against ticks. Ticks are much more serious and can cause major illnesses like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

Wherever you go this summer, make sure you practice the following prevention tips for tick bites:

Avoid tall grasses

Ticks are more likely to be present on long, uncut grasses and shrubs. They have a better chance of coming into contact with a person or an animal in these. Ticks can easily attach themselves to skin, hair and clothing. They will begin to bite and feed almost immediately. When hiking or camping this summer, make an effort to avoid these areas. You can also wear longer pants and perform regular tick checks on bare areas to avoid ticks.

Perform regular tick checks

Experts suggest that more than half of all tick bites occur not when hiking or camping, but actually around the home through gardening or outdoor recreation. During the summer months, get in the habit of checking clothing and exposed skin for ticks. If you do spot one, use tweezers to gently remove it by grabbing at the head and pulling directly upward.

Stay in the sun

Ticks prefer shady, humid environments because they need an environment that is higher in moisture. Tick nymphs can dry out fairly quickly, and they cannot survive in an area lower than 80 percent humidity for more than 8 hours. As a result, sticking to sunnier areas of your yard or the campsite can dramatically reduce your chances of tick exposure.

Check your pets

If your dog or cat has free reign of your yard during the summer, it's also vital to check their coats after being in wooded areas. Ticks can hitch a ride on pets and can be brought indoors. It's good for owners to give them a quick spray with the hose or a brushing before they come inside to eliminate any ticks.

Wear lighter clothing

If you'll be spending extended time outdoors working or enjoying recreational activities, make an effort to wear light-colored clothing. Tick nymphs are extremely small and hard to spot, but they are dark-colored and will show up against a lighter backdrop. This will make your tick checks a breeze!

No matter where you're headed this summer, visit first! Maximize the potential of your employee benefits and shop for products.

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