It's that time of year again! The beautiful weather brings out those pesky ticks and with it tick bites! Each year the CDC reports upwards of 300,000+ people exposed to Lyme disease and other tick borne infections. No need to hide inside this season. We've provided some recommendations to keep those ticks and other critters at bay this Summer.
1. Cover up Vulnerable Areas- Long pants tucked into socks, a fashionable look for some, can prevent ticks from latching on. Also wearing quick dry clothing may deter ticks from further seeking a comfy spot to attach. They need moisture to survive.
2. Repel, Repel, Repel! - use permethrin on clothing, socks and shoes avoiding direct skin contact. Evidence suggests using DEET is ineffective. Also use a natural insect repellent for your skin and hair. I personally use Bug Away by Three Sisters Herbals on my entire family to include the dog. There are many safe herbal options in your local health food stores and apothecaries.
3. Be Mindful at Home- The majority of lyme exposures are reported around the home. Understand that outdoor adventures also pose a threat but are not the most common. Always consider an exposure risk while out and about on your lawn.
4. Tick Checks!- Always.....let me repeat..ALWAYS perform daily tick checks of yourself, your family and pets. Make this a habit anytime you are out enjoying nature.
5. Lower those Carbs! Ticks seek out carbon dioxide when searching for prey. The more carbohydrates we eat, the more carbon dioxide we breath off therefore attracting the attention of ticks. This goes for mosquitoes too!
6. Soak up the Sun- a tick's anatomy prevents long term survival in low humidity. This is why we find them often in shady, brush covered areas. Stay in the sun!
7. Evaluate your Lawn- deer and small rodents, particularly mice avoid certain plants and herbs. Try planting things like Mint, thyme, lavender, black-eyed susan, lemon balm, Mexican marigold and chrysanthemum around the perimeter of your lawn to keep deer and most small rodents out preventing ticks from hitching a ride. Coincidentally, mosquitoes, deer flies and black flies will stay away from most of these plants as well. Ticks will not cross a woodchip barrier. Creating these around the edge of your lawn will keep them away. Clean up brush and keep grass on the shorter side. These changes to your lawn can create an unsuitable environment for ticks to thrive ultimately providing you and your family some protection without the use of toxic chemical sprays.
If you do by chance find a tick attached remove it immediately and seek out the advice of your lyme-literate provider!
Enjoy your Summer season and remain vigilant!