Originally Published: July 7, 2007 7:17 p.m.
Gardening, camping, hiking, just playing outdoors - these are all great summer and fall activities, but don't forget about the ticks that may be in the same
Some ticks are so small that they can be difficult to see, but all hungrily look for animals and people to bite. Depending on the species, you can find ticks in various environments, often in or near wooded areas. You may come into contact with ticks when walking through infested areas or by brushing up against infested vegetation. Ticks also feed on mammals and birds, which play a role in maintaining ticks and the pathogens they carry.
There are a number of different diseases you can get from a tick bite, including Rocky Mountain spotted fever. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers several tactics you can use to prevent tick bites and reduce your risk of tick-borne disease.
Use a repellent with DEET (on skin or clothing) or permethrin (on clothing) and wear long sleeves, long pants and socks. Products containing permethrin can also be used to treat camping gear. Always follow product instructions. Parents should apply this product to their children, avoiding the hands, eyes and mouth
Wear light-colored clothing, which allows you to see ticks crawling on your clothing.
Tuck your pant legs into your socks so that ticks cannot crawl up inside of your pant legs. Some ticks can crawl down into shoes and are small enough to crawl through most socks.
Avoid tick-infested areas. If you are in a tick-infested area, walk in the center of the trails to avoid contact with vegetation.
Check your body for ticks after being outdoors, even in your own yard. Upon returning from potentially tick-infested areas, search your entire body using a hand-held or full-length mirror.
Check your children for ticks, especially in the hair, when returning from potentially tick-infested areas.
Check your clothing and pets for ticks. Ticks may be carried into the house on clothing and pets. Both should be examined carefully. Placing clothes into a dryer on high heat effectively kills ticks.
Watch for signs of illness such as rash or fever, and see a healthcare provider if these develop.
Avoid removing ticks with bare hands - use fine tipped tweezers to remove ticks. If necessary, protect your fingers with tissue, paper towels or gloves.