Ticks: Don’t Let Summer Hikes Turn into Summer Bites

August 10, 2021 by Marlow Hoffman

During the summer, many of us love getting outside for hikes. Unfortunately, ticks enjoy warm weather and wooded, grassy areas as much as we do. There are many different types of ticks. 

These burrowing bugs can be found in various regions across the U.S. and transmit over a dozen diseases including:

  • Anaplasmosis
  • Babesiosis
  • Borrelia mayonii infection
  • Borrelia miyamotoi infection 
  • Bourbon virus infection 
  • Colorado tick fever
  • Ehrlichiosis
  • Heartland virus
  • Lyme disease
  • Powassan disease
  • Rickettsia parkeri rickettsiosis
  • Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF)
  • STARI (Southern tick-associated rash illness)
  • Tickborne relapsing fever (TBRF)
  • Tularemia
  • 364D rickettsiosis

Take steps to avoid tick bites 

It’s a good idea to stay on the trail instead of wandering into grassy areas where ticks thrive. It’s also helpful to wear long, lightweight, and light-colored clothes. You may want to consider treating your gear, shoes, and clothes with 0.5% permethrin, or buy permethrin-treated clothing and gear.

Once you are home, shower and wash your clothes right away. Then check your body and your child's body for ticks. Don't miss these areas: 

  • Under the arms
  • In and behind the ears
  • In and around the hair
  • In the belly button
  • Behind the knees
  • Around the groin 
  • And the waist

If you do find a tick (it may be the size of a sesame seed or smaller!), use tweezers to grab it as close to the skin as possible. Then slowly pull the tick out, being careful to pull straight up without twisting. Once you’re sure you’ve gotten both the body and the head out from the skin, disinfect the area. 

If you do get a tick bite and develop a fever, rash, muscle and/or joint aches, flu-like symptoms or become ill in the weeks or months that follow, see your doctor as soon as possible and be sure to mention your tick exposure.

Bonus Tip: Check your day packs and furry friends for ticks too. The insect can ride home on them and find their way to you.

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