If you live in a wooded area or spend time outdoors, you may have come across ticks. Ticks are tiny arachnids that carry and transmit diseases. This can happen when the tick feeds on your blood.
Ticks are everywhere, and they carry a host of diseases that can make you very sick or even kill you in extreme cases. You may not be able to avoid them completely, but there are things you can do to reduce your risk of getting bit by ticks.
- The best way to prevent tick bites is to avoid areas where ticks live. That means staying away from tall grass and brushy areas in the woods.
- Wear light-colored clothing that covers your arms and legs. Ticks like dark spaces, so they tend to crawl on those parts of your body first. Light colors make it easier for you to spot any ticks crawling on you while they’re still small and nymphal (not yet fully grown).
- Wear long pants (preferably with a thick material) and long sleeves when venturing into areas where ticks live or frequent. Tuck your pant legs into your socks if possible, too, since ticks like warm spots by the ankles.
- Use insect repellent containing DEET or permethrin on exposed skin — but not directly on the face, eyes or mouth — before heading outside. Make sure to follow directions carefully when applying these products.
- Check yourself every morning after going outside — especially if you’ve been near wooded areas or grassy fields where ticks tend to hang out. If you find a tick embedded in your skin, remove it immediately by using tweezers or some type of tick removal device. Watch for signs of an allergic reaction after removing a tick — such as severe itching or redness — which indicates that an infection may have occurred.