How To Protect Yourself From Ticks When Hiking

Ticks are annoying tiny insects that can ruin your hiking or camping trip. Ticks are eight-legged creatures that suck blood from the host. Not only do ticks attack human beings but can also attach themselves to your pet animals like dogs. When they attach to dogs they can be a little tricky to remove as they cling on to the far and skin of the animals. All this can be avoided by some few tricks to avoid the ticks sticking to your body. According to researchers, there is a prediction of an increase in tick population this summer the reason being the prolonged winters that have allowed the survival of the eggs, larva, and adult ticks. Most of the hikers are aware of the presence of ticks, however, there is a lot of misinformation on how to avoid and protect yourself from them.

Tick-borne diseases
• Lyme disease
This disease is spread by the deer tick and it is one of the feared tick bite outcomes. This is because it can cause lifelong chronic diseases if not treated in time. Most cases of Lyme diseases can be treated successfully within a few weeks with antibiotics. Moreover, the antibiotics for treating Lyme can be bought over the counter at your local drugstore or the supermarket. The most common symptoms of this disease include fever, headache, fatigue, and skin rash known as the erythema migrans. Statistics show that in one of every two female deer ticks is infected with Lyme disease and it is advisable that when getting the tick from your skin you be extra careful.

• Alpha-gal
This is more of an immune-defense that is triggered to your immune system. This causes the carbohydrate in your body to go on defense and overreact on the animal carbohydrates. Moreover, this reaction can make you allergic to your meat how awful is that? Unless of course, you are a vegetarian. The ticks contain alpha-gal which is a carbohydrate found in the cells of almost all mammals that are fed on by human beings ranging from cows, sheep, and goat.

• Ehrlichia
This disease can affect both humans and dogs. So be careful when you take your dog out on hiking because it can also be affected by some of the tick-borne diseases. The disease is caused by a lone star tick which can easily bite you when hiking or camping. Some of the symptoms of this disease include fever, fatigue, muscle pains, and headaches. The symptoms occur within a week or two after a tick bite and it can be easily treated by your physician.

• Rocky Mountain spotted fever
Most of the infection occurs on the east of the Rocky Mountains hence the name of the disease. A point to note is that if this disease is not treated on time the results can be fatal. Although the disease has been recently spotted along the Pacific Ocean it is not at an alarming rate. It is advisable to always take precaution while hiking and be extra careful while removing the ticks from your body.

Way to protect yourself from ticks
• Minimize contact with ticks
This is one of the major ways to protect yourself from tick attacks. Always avoid hiking trails with tall grasses, heavily wooded areas, and bushy areas. Instead, hike on distinct hiking trails that are easily marked and used more frequently. Also, avoid taking breaks in bushy areas and sitting directly on the grass as this is one of the major reasons that cause ticks to crawl up your body.

• Wear light-colored clothing
Ticks are dark insects which can be easily spotted crawling on light colored clothes. Always wear light-colored clothes like white as this will help you notice a tick crawling on your clothing. This ensures that you spot the tick before it attacks you.

• Tuck your clothing
Ticks crawl up under your clothes and suck on your blood. This can be avoided by wearing long-sleeved shirts and tucking them neatly on your pants. Also, avoid hiking with shorts in tick-infested areas but always wear trousers and safely tuck your pants cuffs in your socks. This leaves no room for the ticks to crawl up your body to the tick hotspots.

• Wear an insect repellent
Wear an insect repellent to avoid being bitten by the ticks. According to CDC the list of approved insect repellents include DEET, piacridin, and oil of lemon eucalyptus. Insect repellents are applied to the exposed surfaces of your body like the hands and feet. Also, you can apply the repellent on tick hotspot areas like the back of your knees, and in and around your ears.

• Spray your clothes with permethrin
When you are planning on hiking or going camping always ensure that you have sprayed your clothes with permethrin. Permethrin is an insecticide that is sprayed on your clothing, camping gear, hiking boots, and the dog bed. This insecticide kills bug, mosquitoes, and ticks and it does not cause any harm to the human beings or the dogs.

• Clean and shower after the hike
You never know what you could have dragged back home after camping and hiking. The last thing you want is for your house to infested with ticks and all sorts of bugs. Always take a shower first thing after an amazing hiking adventure. This will minimize the risk if you getting tick-borne diseases and worst of all infesting your home with ticks. Thoroughly, ensure that you have checked your animals for ticks and spray them to avoid an infestation. Also, check out your camping and hiking gear just to be double sure that you are safe. An important thing to do is to always de-tick your clothing, this is one of the things most people always forget. De-ticking is done by throwing all your clothing for that day in a hot dryer for 10 minutes before washing. This will ensure that no ticks survive the hot environment in the dyer and the trip to the washer. This ensures that you are safe and no ticks have been dragged back in your house from the hiking trip.

Enjoy an amazing hiking trip and camping adventure without the worry of tick attacks. Use the above tips and avoid tick infestation or worse tick-borne disease.
All the best!