Sunbathing and swimming, hiking, going on picnics, having a beer on a patio or just lying outside and relaxing in the grass — if you ask me, there are many reasons why summer is the best season.
But unfortunately, there’s one thing that’s almost unavoidable no matter how much you try to escape it: ticks.
These little pests are one thing I just can’t handle. And even though I’ve never gotten sick from a tick bite, I know many people who have. Worst of all, ticks are tiny and almost impossible to see before it’s too late and they’re lodged in your skin. By then, it’s not always easy to get rid of them — which anyone who’s tried to remove ticks from a dog or cat can attest!
In order for as many people as possible to avoid getting bitten this summer, we’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks that’ll be useful if you plan on spending time outdoors. Read through it below, and feel free to share it with your friends so they can fully enjoy their summer!
Tick vaccine and essential oils
• First of all, if you live in Europe or are traveling there, a vaccine is the best protection against tick-borne encephalitis (TBE). You can get the vaccine at health centers, vaccination centers and some pharmacies. However, there’s no vaccine against Lyme disease. Still, unlike TBE, it can be treated with antibiotics.
• If you’re unable to vaccinate, there are several other ways to avoid ticks. One is to apply essential oils, which are supposed to be able to keep the little buggers at a safe distance. Here are five essential oils that are said to keep ticks away:
Lavender oil smells nice, according to most humans, but insects can’t stand it.
Pennyroyal oil is part of the mint family but is poisonous to insects.
Lemongrass oil has a wonderful citrus scent and you can apply it directly to your skin.
Eucalyptus oil not only keeps insects at a comfortable distance, but also soothes bug bites and itching.
Lemon oil is another fragrance that insects don’t like. Put a little on your skin and they’ll stay away. Or for even better protection, you can even spray some on your clothes.
• You might have heard that ticks hate garlic. And according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control, the risk of tick bites is lower if spray yourself with garlic oil — the pests tend to choose another victim!
Tips for avoiding ticks
• If you’re going to an area where ticks are known to be present, you have several ways to protect yourself. For example, when walking in the woods, it’s wise to cover up and wear boots, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt.
According to one study, dark clothes have been shown to attract fewer ticks. But on the other hand, ticks can be easier to detect and brush off when you wear light clothes.
• Also, keep to the middle of paths and avoid walking through tall grass, especially in the mornings and thought damp terrain. And always inspect yourself after spending time out in the wild!
• If you get a tick on you, remove it as quickly as possible. At least with Lyme disease, no infection is usually transmitted during the first few hours, so the sooner you remove a tick, the lower the risk of infection.
• According to the Center for Disease Control in the United States, you should use tweezers to remove ticks. Take hold of the tick as close to the skin as possible and slowly pull it straight out. Afterward, wash the bite with soap and water or rubbing alcohol.
The idea that you should twist tweezers while you’re removing ticks is a myth. Just pull them straight up. Also, try not to pinch ticks. If they’re carrying a disease, you might squeeze out bacteria that can infect the bite site.
Tick bite symptoms
• If the worst has happened and you’ve been bitten by a tick, there are several symptoms to watch for. Often there will be a red spot or rash near the bite site, but it will usually fade after a few days and you won’t need to seek care. However, if you experience symptoms of a tick bite that don’t go away, you should contact your doctor.
• In case of TBE, it usually takes four to 10 days from the time of infection before you get sick. Some common symptoms are headaches, muscle aches, fatigue and fevers. Often, you’ll recover, but sometimes the virus can spread to the brain. At that point, symptoms will include high fevers, severe headaches, vomiting, sensitivity to light and sounds, confusion and difficulty concentrating.
• The most common symptom of Lyme disease is a red rash larger than five centimeters in diameter that appears three to 30 days after you get a tick bite. Other symptoms include fatigue, headaches and aching muscles and joints. If the disease spreads, you might experience symptoms like fevers, weight loss and temporary paralysis.
Want ticks to stay as far away from you and your friends as possible?
Share this article so that your friends can also protect themselves and enjoy their summer!