Enjoy The Last Days of Fall Without Exposing Yourself To Lyme
HomeBlogBlogEnjoy The Last Days of Fall Without Exposing Yourself To Lyme
In northern regions of the US, late autumn is a great time to spend your final opportunities outdoors before the winter hits. You would expect the added bonus of no pests during this time of year, right? Wrong. While it’s true that you can expect fewer interruptions from summer bugs, fall is commonly peak time of year for ticks. Here are a few fall favorite spots, and what you can do to avoid a run-in with a tick bite that could lead to Lyme.
The Hiking Trail
Ticks love the fall weather as much as you do, so it’s important to take the proper precautions before you hit the trail. Blacklegged ticks – aka deer ticks – are frequently located in wooded areas and can transmit Lyme. Make sure you follow the cardinal rule: wear long and wear light. Long-sleeve shirts and long pants in light colors can help prevent tick bites, and the light color helps you easily spot any stragglers that may have attached themselves to your clothes. Tuck your shirt into your pants, and then tuck your pants into your socks to minimize your risk of a tick bite, and you can take it a step further with gaiters for your shoes. Also a must have? Repellent/insecticide with the chemical permethrin in it. Spray this on your clothes, shoes, backpacks, etc. to protect yourself before you step onto the trail
As soon as you get home, wash your clothing and throw them in a hot dryer for an hour. Showering within two hours of leaving the trail will help to wash off any ticks that have not yet latched onto your skin. Also be sure to double check your favorite furry hiking buddy (your dog) before you get into your car or home.
Parks, Corn Mazes, & Other Outdoor Spaces
It’s not just heavily-wooded areas where ticks tend to hang out, they also love tall grass and brush. Stay vigilant when you’re in neighborhood parks and other outdoor spaces this fall, especially if you’re traveling with children. It can be tempting to relax if you’re not walking through the woods, but ticks are known to be crafty, so stay on alert even in lower-risk areas. Insect repellent is a great place to start, and stick with the previously mentioned cardinal rule and wear long sleeves/pants in light colors. Tuck your shirts in, and do a quick check on everyone when you get home from being outside, especially on children who may like to go exploring when outside.
When it’s tough to leave your home (especially during a pandemic), your backyard can become an oasis. Take full advantage of your firepits, outdoor seating, and fun fall activities, just make sure to protect yourself and your family from unwanted tick bites. Piles of leaves and brush are prime locations for tick interactions, so make sure those are in isolated areas in your backyard where your kids and pets won’t be exposed. Throw a tarp over unbagged areas, and do a quick permethrin spray on your children’s clothing (which is more effective than spraying their skin) before they play outside. You can also buy clothing that is pre-treated with permethrin for even easier application. And don’t worry about exposing any little ones to this naturally occurring chemical, according to the EPA it is safe even for toddlers, however it should be kept away from cats. In addition, any exposed skin – with the exception of the hands and face – should be sprayed with DEET as a precaution. As always, wear long sleeves and pants, and do a quick check on everyone before coming into the house.