Being Aware Of Ticks While Hiking And Camping

Be Tick Aware

Hiking and camping can be a lot of fun, but people need to be aware of the possibility of a tick getting on their skin.  These little bugs are more than an annoyance, as they can transmit Lyme disease to a person. Living rural we have these all around our yard and have already found one this season.

Ticks thrive in shady, wooded areas and they mostly attach to a person at a level closest to the ground and then climb up the person.  Ticks also love to burrow in leaf piles, because it is humid and dark.  Ticks enjoy resting on long grass, because they can attach their back legs to the grass and hold their front legs out as they are waiting for a person or animal to attach to.

Campsites should be located in dry and sunny areas, because ticks cannot survive that long in this type of area.  The ticks can dry out very quickly.  When people are hiking, they should stay in the middle of the trail and away from any over growth where ticks are most likely to thrive.

No hiker or camper should ever sit directly on the ground or set up camp in an area that has multiple leaf piles.  Everyone should wear long sleeved shirts and pants that are light in color and pull long socks over the pant legs.  Shirts should also be tucked in so that ticks cannot get inside the clothing.   There is even clothing available that has been treated to repel ticks.  Any long hair should be pulled back or braided so that the hair does not brush against an area where ticks are living.

Another way to avoid ticks is to use an insect repellent that is effective on ticks.  This repellent is applied directly to the skin and contains DEET.  The repellent can also be applied to a person’s shoes and since ticks are usually located at ground level, this can prevent the ticks from attaching to a person.  The repellent needs to be reapplied every few hours and should be washed off immediately when a person goes inside.

Ticks are very small, so a person needs to be careful as they are checking for ticks.  When camping or hiking it is necessary to check for ticks every couple of hours.  A tick must bite a person in order to transmit a disease, so by checking more frequently, these bites can be prevented.  The entire body needs to be checked including under the arms, back of the knees, inside the belly button, around the waist, between the legs and in and around the ears.  Showering is also a good way to check for ticks and remove them quickly.

To kill any ticks that may be on clothing from hiking or camping, a person needs to place the clothing in the dryer on high heat for 10-15 minutes.  The clothing should be placed in the dryer immediately upon returning home, instead of a hamper or washing machine.  Water does not kill ticks and any clothing lying around with ticks, may allow the ticks to attach to someone before the clothes reach the dryer.

If a tick has attached itself to a person, then it will need to be removed immediately.  A pair of pointed tweezers will be needed to grab the tick’s body to pull it directly up and away from the skin.  After the tick has been removed, the area should be cleaned with rubbing alcohol and an antibiotic ointment can be applied.  If Lyme disease is common in the area, then it is a good idea to have the tick tested for the disease.  Place the tick in a bag with the date it was removed and contact the local health department.

With proper preparation, everyone should be able to camp and hike safely without having to fear ticks.  As long as people are aware of the ticks and take the necessary precautions, they should be able to enjoy their time in the woods without having to worry about returning home with a tick bite or two.

Have you ever had to deal with Ticks? Do you have any tips to add?

 

 

Comments

  1. Amy Worrell says

    I am heading out hiking this weekend – this is great advice!

  2. nenasinclair says

    Thank you for this post! I can’t stress enough how important it is to be wary of ticks! There are different ticks that can cause different severe health problems. My niece has had Lyme Disease for almost 3 years now and it’s’ horrendous. It changed her life completely. Some days she can’t get out of bed, she’s very thin and frail and aches all the time. There are so many complications. Not only that, but it’s very hard to find a doctor who will treat Lyme, and often misdiagnosing it. Even when Lyme is confirmed, they usually don’t know how to treat it or brush it aside, often refusing to acknowledge Lyme as a serious disease.

  3. Living in the woods this is something that we pay close attention to. Deet is awesome as is lemon scented products apparently. We use an all natural deet-free product that’s made using certain oils like lemongrass and such things. Works wonders. Any kind of exposure to nature and ticks can get you. I don’t know about everyone but lyme disease doesn’t sound fun!

  4. Elizabeth Matthiesen says

    Lyme Disease is a constant danger when ticks are around you. As we can read above it’s a dreadful disease. You must protect yourselves and children as much as possible against ticks. I know that in Germany for example that ticks can give you tick-borne encephalitis too.

  5. Great info, and some great reminders too…..I need to restock on repellents really soon!

  6. I remember bringing a tick into the house after doing some gardening……..I never jumped so fast and high in all my life!

  7. Thanks for the reminder to protect myself from ticks. I generally know what to do, but don’t always take the time to do it.

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