When you can’t take Mosquito Squad of Southeastern Massachusetts with you to the campground or on your next fishing trip, don’t forget the precautions you do need to take to protect yourself from ticks and the diseases they carry such as Lyme Disease. Checking yourself and your clothing for ticks as soon as you come inside is a great way to prevent tick-borne diseases after you’ve been camping, fishing, hiking or just hanging out at the park.
To make sure your camping or fishing trip doesn’t result in Lyme Disease, Anaplasmosis or Babesiosis be sure to take the following precautions.
Cover yourself with light colored clothing
Wear light colored clothing that covers all of your skin. If you’re going to be in the thick brush you may even want to tuck your pants into your socks to keep the ticks from climbing up and under your pants. The light clothing will allow you to see the tiny poppy seed size specs that are indeed nymph or larvae ticks.
Remove ticks with DUCT tape or a Lint Roller
If you are going to be out in nature for prolonged periods without the ability to change your clothing or shower, take a role of DUCT tape or a lint roller with you. Use it to remove ticks when they first latch on. Certainly pulling a few hairs out with them is a better option than letting a potentiality infected tick bite you. Not to mention it is harder to remove ticks when they are already embedded, so if you do this as soon as you see one has gotten on you or your clothes it will be a lot easier.
Remove ticks from clothing with your dryer
As soon as you come in from being exposed remove your clothing and put it directly in the dryer. Dry the clothes on high for 10 or more minutes. Gas dryers tend to be hotter so if you have an electric dryer you can add 5 minutes just to be sure. Washing your clothes does not remove or kill ticks so always dry them on high first. Don’t throw your clothes in the hamper or on the floor, you’ll risk exposing other people and pets in your house to any tick that may be hanging on to your clothing.
Check yourself for ticks regularly
Infected ticks do not spread the disease to you immediately upon latching on. It is key to remove ticks within the first day to avoid transmission. To do this it is key to know where to look for them. Immediately after exposure and every day throughout the season you need to check your skin in the places ticks love to embed for their blood meal. Remember, they can be very tiny, like a grain of coffee. Look closely. According to Tick Encounter their favorite hiding spots are:
- In between your legs
- Belly button
- Waist & Back
- Behind knees
- Groin and pelvic area
To remove a tick that is indeed embedded you will need to use needle nose pliers or a pointy pair of tweezers. Grab the tick as close to your skin as possible and gently pull straight out. It is important not to twist or rip or destroy the tick. If you stress it out it could regurgitate into your skin and pass a disease on to you. Place the tick in a sealed container or baggy and write the date on it. It could be used for later testing should you experience suspicious symptoms.