As summer approaches, it’s time to start considering tick prevention. The cold winter weather is disappearing, but the ticks are soon to make an appearance! It is especially important to be extra vigilant when spending time outdoors. Follow these tick prevention tips for a healthy summer:

1) Avoid heavily wooded or leafy areas. If possible, steer clear of these places as ticks are likely to accumulate in areas with high grass and a lot of leaf litter. Walk or bike in the center of trails. Keep a close eye on your children and/or pets if you decide to go hiking in the woods.

2) Use bug repellant, but not just any repellant. Make sure the product you use contains 20% or more DEET which will offer several hours of protection. It is important to only apply the repellant once a day and to avoid combining it with sunscreen. Follow the application instructions closely.

3) Pre-treat clothing. The best way to do this is by using permethrin on any garment you and your family will be wearing outside. After several washings, clothes will stay protected. Pre-treated clothing is sometimes available in sporting goods stores.

4) Check yourself often. This is essential if you have been in an area that is populated with ticks, such as wooded areas. Use a mirror to view all parts of your body. If you have children, examine them often as well.

5) Bathe or shower after being outdoors. You should do so within two hours of coming inside, which makes it easier to spot any ticks that may be crawling on your body.

6) Examine pets and gear. Check everything you took outside with you for hidden ticks. Pets and other items can carry ticks inside and end up transferring them to you. Ticks can also be dangerous to pets and lyme disease is just as real for them as for you, so make sure you check them thoroughly, especially under ears and tails. For tick prevention in pets, consider a tick repellant such as the Virbac Tick Collar

Ticks bring disease with them, such as Lyme disease, so try your hardest to protect your family and pets from them. Tick bites are generally painless, so you may not know you’ve been bitten until the tick becomes engorged. Immediately remove engorged ticks from your body. Medical attention may be necessary under the following circumstances:

• If you think the tick has been on the skin for over 24 hours.
• Part of the tick remains in the skin after you have attempted to remove it.
• A rash of any kind develops, especially a red-ringed bulls eye rash, or red spots on the writs or ankles, as this is a symptom of Lyme disease.

Ticks are exceptionally common in many parts of the world, especially during the summer months. The best tick prevention is awareness and consistency when checking yourself, your family and your pets.