Summer is a time for being outside. You have waited all winter for these warmer days to get here so that you can go swimming, or hiking, or just grill out some burgers in the back yard with your family. But there are some not so pleasant realities about summer too, like ticks. This is the time of year when ticks are most active. Ticks are not limited to just wooded areas either. You can be exposed to tick bites any time you are outside. Ticks are sneaky.
Without vigilant checking, you could have a tick hiding on you for several hours before you realize it has latched on. Ticks, like mosquitoes, are more than just annoying. Ticks pose some serious health risks for people and pets. Diseases that can result from tick bites include: Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, tularemia, and most significantly Lyme disease.
Lyme disease is a serious illness that if left untreated can infect your joints, blood stream and even your heart. In worst case scenarios, Lyme disease can be fatal. You must take extreme caution during the summer months to keep yourself, your children and your pets free of ticks.
Here are a few simple, natural tips to keep ticks away.
Homemade Topical Tick Repellant
Any of your skin that is still left exposed needs to be covered in a topical, tick repellant. If you are not comfortable using chemical repellants, you can try this all natural, homemade alternative: mix 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil, 4 tablespoons of Aloe Vera gel and 30 drops of geranium essential oil. Apply the solution directly to exposed skin after you have mixed it well. This solution is also safe to use on pets. Rub the solution into your pets collar to keep them protected at well.
If you are going to be in an area that is known for tick populations, such as tall grass or wooded areas, you should wear long, protective clothing. Some people shun this idea because the summer months are so hot they want to wear less clothing, not more. But it is a small measure that could make a big difference. Wear light colored clothing so that ticks can easily be spotted on your clothes and removed. Avoid open toed shoes. Wear long pants and keep the legs tucked into socks while in wooded areas.
Check Pets, Kids and Yourself
This is the best, tried and true solution to avoid getting sick from ticks. After every single visit outdoors during the summer months, make everyone check everyone! Children especially find this tedious, but be persistent. Removing a tick immediately can greatly reduce the risk of contracting a disease from it. The best way to remove a tick is to grab it securely by the mouth with a pair of tweezers and then pull straight up. Watch the bitten area for several days to make sure it does not become overly red, or swollen. If it does look suspicious, have it looked at by your doctor. With ticks it is always better to be safe than sorry.