Ticks are all around us and they’re not going anywhere. As more people take to the outdoors, we need to be more aware of ticks and how they can affect our health (and happiness). If you’re planning on heading into nature this summer, here’s how to avoid ticks while hiking so that you can enjoy your hike without having to worry about Lyme disease or other illnesses caused by ticks.
Way to avoid ticks while hiking
Wear long pants and check them often
- Wear long pants and tuck them into socks.
- Button the cuffs of your pants, as ticks can sometimes crawl up pant legs.
- Don’t wear shorts. Ticks may be more likely to latch onto you if you’re wearing them than if you’re not, because they’ll have easier access to skin that’s exposed.
- Don’t wear sandals, flip-flops or shoes without closed toes or heels—ticks can easily crawl up inside of them (particularly in grassy areas). This includes shoes with mesh uppers; ticks often seek out dark places in which to hide during daylight hours, so even if your shoe has an open weave along its upper edge, it might still be a good idea to keep these kinds of footwear closed off enough for this reason alone.
- Don’t wear skirts above ankle length.
- Don’t wear dresses above ankle length.
- Don’t wear capris above knee length.
- And always check thoroughly after hiking/walking anywhere outdoors; don’t just assume that because there are no signs of ticks around where you went hiking today that there won’t be any tomorrow!
Stay in the middle of the trail
When you’re hiking, you want to stick to the middle of the trail. That’s because ticks are most likely to be found on the sides of trails, in areas with tall grass and brush. Ticks are less likely to be found in areas with low grass and brush.
Avoid wooded areas if you can
As you can see, ticks prefer wooded areas and are more active during the spring and summer. If you have to hike in these areas, do so early in the morning or late at night when ticks are less active. It’s also advisable to avoid wearing dark colors that make it harder for ticks to spot you (they tend to seek out light colors).
- Go in the morning or early afternoon, when it’s cooler and ticks are less active. Ticks are most active at temperatures between 63°F and 86°F, so if you want to avoid them, you’ll have a better chance during these hours.
- Choose a trail that is on higher ground. Tick activity tends to be lower in areas with more exposure to sunlight and wind—so if you’re hiking on flat land, expect to see more ticks than if you were climbing up a steep hillside or rocky cliff face.
Spray down your clothes with a tick repellent
If you’re looking for a tick repellent that will keep ticks at bay but won’t cause any harm to your skin, look for one that contains permethrin. Permethrin is an insecticide derived from chrysanthemums and has been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency for use on clothing. It works by paralyzing the tick when it comes into contact with the chemical, preventing it from biting you or sucking your blood.
Permethrin has been proven to be effective in repelling both adult and immature ticks, although it can take up to 6 hours before its full effect becomes apparent (after 24 hours, any ticks that were already attached when sprayed will die). When buying your permethrin spray, make sure you buy one designed specifically for use on clothing; other types are toxic if ingested or absorbed through the skin!
Keep yourself safe from ticks and Lyme disease by following these steps
- Wear long pants. Ticks typically attach to the lower portions of your body, so wear long pants and tuck them into your socks to avoid getting bitten.
- Check yourself often while hiking. After you’ve hiked, check your clothes closely for ticks and have a friend or partner help you if possible; it can be hard to see all the way up to the waistband of your pants or shirt without pulling them down (which releases any attached ticks). If you find a tick on yourself or another person, remove it carefully with tweezers—do not squeeze or apply pressure! Treating Lyme disease early can help prevent symptoms from becoming severe later on in life, so don’t wait until after doing yard work or any outdoor activity before checking yourself thoroughly for ticks.
- Go in the morning or early afternoon when temperatures are cooler.
- Avoid wooded areas where there may be more mosquitoes than other places along trails.
- Spray down clothing with permethrin spray before going outside (this will repel both ticks and mosquitoes), but make sure that children do not have access to these products unless under direct supervision by an adult.
- Avoid wearing bright colors like yellow since they attract attention from predators like bears who might attack humans
As you can see, ticks are a serious threat to anyone who spends time outdoors. If you live in an area where ticks are common, take precautions to avoid them and protect yourself from their bite. You may also want to consider taking preventative measures against Lyme disease if there’s any possibility that you have been exposed. But don’t be too worried—with the right precautions and care, your chances of getting infected with this nasty little parasite should be significantly minimized!
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Michael has been a traveler and blogger since he was 17 years old. Now his passion is hiking, traveling, camping, and revealing his outdoor secrets. Stay connect with us for outdoor events and camping trips together.