Ticks spread dangerous diseases such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted fever, and Babesiosis – avoiding tick bites is your best guard against these life-changing infections. Tick safety is common knowledge in the New England states where ticks have been a more plentiful problem for a long time, but in St. Louis, it is a recently growing problem. Make sure you follow the tick safety guidelines every time you spend time outdoors in the untreated wilderness, especially between May and October when ticks are more active.
Tick safety starts before you head out the door and continues until well after you get home from your outdoor adventures. Follow the guide below.
Step One: Tick Protection Steps Before You Leave
· Tuck your pants in your socks.
· Wear light-colored clothing so if a tick does climb aboard, it is easy to see.
· Use tick repellent containing permethrin on exposed skin and treat your clothing with it.
Step Two: While Out
· Avoid tall grasses and heavy brush where ticks will quest for a blood meal. Stay on the path when hiking as much as possible.
· Use a lint roller when you arrive back at your car to remove ticks that are on your clothing or skin.
· You may even change clothes at the park, packing your outdoor clothes in a sealed tight back until you get home to keep ticks that may have latched on to your clothes from getting in the house.
Step Three: Upon Returning Home
· Remove clothing immediately and throw it straight in the dryer on HIGH for at least 30 minutes to kill off any ticks on the clothes. (Washing first does not necessarily work, always dry on High.)
· Conduct a head to toe tick check as soon as possible.
· Showering as soon as possible is a good idea so you can do the tick check and easily knock ticks off before they embed themselves.
Your Tick Check How-To Guide
It might seem easy and obvious on how to check for ticks, but, they are tiny, and they have specific habits of hiding in hard to see places. When you conduct a tick check on yourself or your children, follow this guide carefully:
1. Start at your toes, ticks grab on low and then climb up.
2. Check between your toes, around your ankles, using your hands and eyes to see and feel for the tiny bumps.
3. When checking your leg, look near the hair follicles of leg hair, tiny nymph ticks can hide well there.
4. Move up your legs, check behind your knees and feeling for bumps with your hands.
5. Give special attention to your groin area; ticks love dark warm places.
6. Move up your torso and even look inside your belly button.
7. Moving upwards, check under your breasts and inside your armpits.
8. Check behind ears, along your hairline, and in your hair.
9. If you have long/thick hair, ask a partner to check your entire scalp.
10. Have a buddy check your back and the back of your neck as well.
If you find a tick, remove it safely. If it was embedded, save it in a plastic bag with the date in case you need to test it for disease later. If not, flush it or throw it away in a secure garbage bin.
We urge you to always check for ticks after spending time outdoors. But at home, you can count on Mosquito Squad to remove up to 90% of ticks from your property to increase the care-free enjoyment of your backyard.