There are a multitude of reasons to try to prevent tick bites. They main reason, no doubt, is to prevent the disease they can carry. Lyme Disease, carried by the Deer Tick, can cause a number of issues, both physical and neurological. If you can take a few precautions and prevent ticks bites, it is a no-brainer.
Prevention is important because, in part, removal of ticks can be difficult. With their small size, they are very difficult to locate. And these parasites often attach themselves in hard to see places on their hosts hiding in hair or fur. For humans, they are more commonly found on the nape of the neck or along the lower scalp. Extreme care should be taken while removing these latched-on bugs. Efficient methods of removal include the use of tweezers and forceps. But it is better to prevent contact in with ticks in the first place. In this article, we are going to explain different way and tools used in preventing tick bites.
The first method for the prevention of ticks is by using DEET. While DEET is better known as a mosquito repellent, it works quite well on ticks as well assume the active ingredient makes up at least 20% of the solution. It has proved to be very beneficial and effective at repulsing ticks when compared to other anti-tick agents. It not only repulses them but is also a very potent tick killer. This information was confirmed by Durland Fish who teaches disease transmission at the Yale School of Public Health. Many anti-agents, even those that contain picaridin, are just not nearly as effective in fighting off parasites. While it is a synthetic chemical that may have some drawbacks, we find that DEET works very well. If you need a product suggestion, we like Repel, a proven product that is 40% DEET.
No matter how successful DEET might be in keeping ticks away, a popular school of thought (backed-up by a EPA studies) is that you can really increase your ability to repel ticks if you combine DEET and Permethrin. DEET goes on the skin. Permethrin goes on the clothing. Permethrin is the first choice remedy for the prevention of tick bites when it comes to application on clothing, because it can last up to 6 hours on fabric. When analyzed chemically, Permethrin has been shown to be chemically stronger than DEET and is believed to repel ticks almost instantly. It also be absorbed into clothing and this kind of dressing can still repulse ticks for up to 70 washes. We suggest the Sawyer spray, an easy-to-use spray-on permethrin product.
Try a Home Remedy
Spraying your clothes with the homemade insect repellent below seems to be effective, although we need to put a disclaimed on this that it has never been scientifically tested in a lab. Still, home remedies are often more natural and less expensive. You can either spray it on your clothes, or directly onto your body. If you want to use it on your skin, just cut the amount of essential oils to half from the ingredients listed. The following are what you’d need for this spray.
- Spray bottle
- 25ml of water
- 12 drops of rose geranium oil
- Six drops of cedar wood oil
- Four drops of lavender oil
- Four drops of lemongrass oil
Cedar wood oil and geranium oil are the most potent ingredients. You can skip the others if they aren’t available.
- Take a spray bottle and fill it around 25 ml of water. The amount of water varies with the size of the bottle. If you have a larger or smaller bottle, adjust the amounts of the other ingredients accordingly.
- Add the drops of oil one by one in the spray bottle and shake it well as the spray won’t be effective if it is not properly mixed. After vigorous mixing, keep it steady for some time and use it when necessary.
- After using, keep the remaining spray in a cool, dry place. Before spraying it on your clothes and shoes, shake the bottle well again.
- The strong cent of the oils will keep the ticks away.
Finding and Removing Ticks
Ticks may accumulate in your woolen clothes with the passage of time. We devote an entire article to the 4-step process of checking for ticks. Here’s a summary of how you can get rid of them.
- After coming in from the outdoors, bathe or shower as soon as possible to wash off any ticks that might be crawling on you.
- Conduct a full-body tick test and check for any infected areas on your body. Parents should check their children for ticks under arms, in their hair and in around their ears.
- Thoroughly examine pets and gear. Ticks are capable of riding on clothing and pets, so carefully examine them.
- Tumble drying clothes in a dryer for 10 minutes under high heat can kill ticks as well. If your clothes require washing first, always use the hot water. Cold or medium warm water is not recommended as lower temperatures will not likely kill any ticks. If your clothes cannot be washed in hot water, then tumble drying on low heat for a longer amount of time.
Other Preventive Measures
Cover yourself completely in areas where ticks are known to be common. Always wear an insect repellent on warm days. Always use products with permethrin coating. If your gear, such as tents, boots, pants and socks are treated, you’ll stay protected from ticks even after several washes. Always walk in the middle of wilderness trails and avoid heavily wooded and brushy areas.
The other thing you may want to consider is using lighter clothing, which will show a tick crawling on the surface more easily. A tick crawling on khaki pants is much easier to spot than a tick crawling on dark blue jeans. Some brands also make bug-resistant clothing — which may be treated with permethrin to help keep these creatures at bay.
Finally, if we are talking about your home, yard, or other environments that you can control, consider taking some steps to reduce the tick population. You can’t eliminate them, but you can get rid of some of the more obvious places that might put them in contact with humans and pets.
They are plenty of products available in the market that can help you to avoid or get rid of ticks permanently. If you don’t want to use them, you can prepare your very own tick-repellent at home as discussed above. So if you want to prevent tick bites, start using these techniques now!