Spending time outdoors is one of the summer activities families look forward to most, but with the outdoor fun comes a few new safety and health concerns. Just as it’s important to consider safe sun protection, protection from certain insects is a must.
According to the CDC, Lyme disease is a particularly high risk in the Northeast, but appears commonly in any wooded areas. Public health consultant Bob Oley warns, “These microscopic bugs pose an enormous threat to our children, who are especially vulnerable during the summer months. It is imperative to educate ourselves about tick-borne diseases, and take the necessary precautions to protect our children from them.”
Ticks can appear in lawns, campgrounds, and even picnic tables. Clearly, summer camp is another high-risk area as kids are spending more time outside in these areas. Fortunately there are several ways to minimize exposure to a variety of deer ticks and reduce the risk of contracting Lyme disease and other severe bacterial infections.
- Dress defensively. Mother Earth News advises, “When you venture into areas where ticks might be waiting, dress for the occasion. Wear a hat and light-colored clothing (to help you see ticks before they find skin), and tuck your shirt into your pants and your pants into your socks. You may look goofy, but it’s better than becoming a tick’s dinner.“
- Repel ticks. Use an insect repellent with nontoxic ingredients to ward off bug bites. The Daily Green shares a few quality products as well as essential oils that can deter ticks. For those of us who have experienced serious infections or have had family members hospitalized over a single bite try Permanone (active ingredient is Permethrin, I would not classify this as a green alternative but it works) which is available at many stores. When Permanone is sprayed on clothes including underwear and socks, let it dry thoroughly, it will maintain it’s strength for up to 2 or 3 washes. I recommend washing hands after handling these types of sprays.
- Come clean. Immediately upon coming back inside, remove all clothing and place it in the dryer on high for 20 minutes, which will kill any ticks immediately – don’t forget to clean it out afterward! Do a thorough inspection of the body and remove any ticks – be sure to check hair really well, too!
- Be aware of the symptoms. As scary as it sounds, there is a risk of getting Lyme disease and other bacterial infections if you venture outside in the summer! Be on the lookout for flu-like symptoms and swollen lymph nodes – seek medical attention right away if these show up.
- If you find a tick on your dog, do not burn it with a match or pull it out with tweezers, you are likely to leave the head inside and could cause infection and pain to the dog. Place your finger on top of the tick and rotate your finger in a circular motion, in time the tick will get dizzy and pull out. Sounds silly but it works.
May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!