Creepy-crawlies can make nature feel a little less than inviting sometimes. Normally, I don’t let insects bother me. I’ve actually come to respect and appreciate them and I try to alleviate others fears by passing on my fascination with them.
This year, however, is another story. As the tick population explodes (in part because of climate change) and social media feeds are filled with stories about hikers and campers coming back from the woods covered in them, even I’m taking heed.
Ticks, all on their own, possess a big ‘ick factor’, as most parasites do, but the added concern of the many diseases they may pass on can transform ick into a full-blown ‘fear factor’.
Please know that most tick species don’t carry diseases and aren’t a serious health threat, however, it’s still prudent to take precautions.
How to Protect Yourself From Ticks.
So what’s a poor tree-hugger to do?
Since avoiding the woods isn’t an option or a guarantee of freedom from risk (ticks can be right in your own yard and garden or coming in with your pets) there are ways you can lower your chances of catching anything.
The following list can help.
- Stick to the middle of the trail when you’re out for your forest stroll.
- Wear light coloured clothing. (This will make it easier to spot any unwelcomed hitch-hikers.)
- Cover-up and tuck, tuck, tuck. Wear closed shoes, tuck your pants into your socks and tuck your shirt into your pants.
- Use an insect repellent with DEET or Icaridin. (I’m the last person to recommend these options however, I think in this case they might be the lesser of two evils.)
- Check and wipe off clothing and gear before going indoors.
- Take a shower or bath after your outdoor venture.
- Do a full, naked body check on a daily basis. Be sure to include your hair and scalp.
- Remove any embedded ticks you find immediately and disinfect the bite area with tea tree oil. ( Safe tick removal methods.)
I know, it sounds like a big hassle to go through but better safe than sorry.
Like everything in nature, even ticks have a purpose in our eco-system. They’re an essential food source for many reptiles, amphibians, and birds. No, this may not bring you much comfort as you feel your skin itching and twitching after reading too many ‘Tick Warning!’ posts but I am hoping you won’t let ticks deter you from your ‘Wild Child’ adventures.
The health and joy you’ll gain by getting your daily dose of Nature will far outweigh any hassles. I promise.
May you be tick and mosquito resistant this year and always my Dear. 😉