Whether you're a fan of hiking, horse riding or dog walking, there's nothing worse than finding that a tick has managed to attach itself to you while you're outdoors. However, due to the soaring numbers of Lyme disease cases, ticks are more than just a nuisance - they could cause a serious bacterial infection - but that doesn't mean you have to avoid your favourite woodland areas just yet. Take a look at our top 10 tips to keep you safe from ticks when you're enjoying your next venture outdoors!
Use A Repellent
When it comes to combating ticks, Permethrin is your weapon of choice. Used in mosquito nets with antimalarial properties, Permethrin kills adult ticks as well as the larvae which are most susceptible to carrying Lyme disease. Conventional bug spray (DEET) can be effective, but using clothing that has been treated with Permethrin - particularly hiking boots and socks - is your best bet when keeping the ticks at bay.
Wear Appropriate Clothing
Before you venture outside, choose your clothing wisely; thick, long socks and trousers are the easiest ways to shield yourself against the majority of ticks. Using light coloured clothing will also help to make the ticks stand out on your clothes so you can quickly and easily brush them off before becoming attached to your skin. If you're out all day, in severely tick invested areas consider taping up your socks to your trousers.
Don't Stray From The Trail
Wading through long moist grass and high dense vegetation is the easiest way for a parasite to latch itself to your body - stick to the footpaths as much as possible and avoid crossing fields and other areas that have become overgrown. Also be aware as you're wandering through that you haven't suddenly happened upon a tick infested area - if you do, find away to go round or go back.
The tick inspection doesn't end when you come indoors; before you head into the house visually check everything from your clothes and rucksacks to dogs and children! The last thing you want is for ticks to start crawling around the carpet, waiting for their next host to come along. If you do have a dog, make sure you do a proper check of its fur - paying close attention to face and ears - keeping a look out for any bloodsucking insects.
If you've been in the field all day, make sure you shower off as soon as you enter the house - this way you'll be able to see if anything sinister has become attached to you over the course of the day and get rid of it.
How Do I Remove A Tick?
The quicker you remove a tick, the less chance you have of catching anything harmful - but there is a right and a wrong way to extract them. The moment you see one, grab a pair of bathroom tweezers and grip the tick at the closest point that it's attached to your skin. Pull upwards in a clean, controlled motion - don't twist or pull too quickly as you can run the risk of breaking the tick's jaws away from its body and leaving the remains in your skin.
Clean the bite as soon as you can with soap and warm water and flush the tick down the toilet. If you start experiencing feverish symptoms, muscle pain or fatigue after being bitten, take a visit to see your doctor and tell them about when and where the bite occured.