Summer is here and that means more time spent outdoors. Whether you choose to relax on a patio, exercise with a long hike, enjoy yourself in the garden or head to the cottage to get away from it all, spending time enjoying the warm summer weather is what summer is all about. However, there are risks and things to watch out for when you’re enjoying the summer. One of these risks is tick bites. Ticks are small arachnids that vary in size and are very difficult to spot with the naked eye. They feed on blood and sometimes bite people. While they can be active throughout the year, the risk of getting bitten by a tick is the highest in the spring and summer. For the most part, tick bites do not result in disease, however, ticks can harbour disease-causing agents and sometime those they bite do get infected. The most well-known of these diseases is Lyme disease; a serious illness that, if not identified and treated early, can cause very serious health issues. Here are some tips to help keep you and your family safe this summer:
- KEEP YOUR LAWN CARED FOR: Ticks are commonly found in forests and overgrown areas. This includes tall grass and wooded regions. They tend to remain low on the grass, even when it is tall. This is because they seek to avoid sunlight. Ticks do not survive well in dry conditions or in short vegetation. For this reason, it’s a good idea to prune back decorative grasses or shrubs. You’ll also want to clean up leaf piles and grass clipping and remove them from your yard.
- WEAR PROTECTIVE CLOTHING: You can protect yourself from ticks by wearing appropriate clothing. This includes wearing closed-toe shoes, long pants and long-sleeved shirts. You may also want to pull your socks up over the bottom of your pant legs to prevent ticks from crawling up your legs. This is especially true if you are walking through a potential tick habitat. When walking through such regions, you may also want to tape any openings in your clothing closed. Light coloured clothing makes it easier to identify ticks before they begin to bite.
- USE REPELLENT: If you are spending time in a tick habitat, you may want to wear tick repellent. Repellents can be applied to exposed skin as well as clothing. Choose insect repellents that contain DEET or Icaridin and always read the labels and follow directions.
- CHECK YOURSELF FOR TICKS: If you spot a tick before it has begun to bite, it is much easier to remove. Check yourself and your children regularly, especially when you have been in grassy areas. Ticks usually take between 12 and 24 hours to settle, so it is often effective to spot ticks and remove them with tweezers before they have settled. You may not be able to see ticks with your eyes, so feeling for them with your hands may prove more useful.
- CHECK YOUR PETS: In addition to checking yourself and your children for ticks, you will also want to check your pets. Use a fine-tooth tick comb to remove ticks. Pay special attention to the tail, ears, head and underside of the body. You may wish to do this with a second person in order to ensure that the pet has been checked thoroughly.
Want to learn more about staying healthy this summer? Don’t hesitate to give us a call. Remember, at Physiomed…Healthier Starts Here.