School is ending soon, and if you are planning some outdoor time, you also need a plan of attack against a specific enemy: ticks.
According to the University of Florida, it’s the adult ticks that attach to humans. And, while they can be a threat all year round, UF says there are more adult ticks in Florida between March and September.
“The number of tick-borne diseases, such as Lyme and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, have been on the rise in recent years,” warned Consumer Reports Health Editor Catherine Roberts. “It’s really important to take the proper precautions,”
So, the best defense is a good offense: Make it difficult for ticks to bite you. That means, if you’re out in a wooded or grassy area, be sure to dress correctly.
”You should wear long sleeves and long pants that are tucked into your socks to keep ticks from getting under your clothing. It’s also a good idea to wear light colors so it’s easier to spot any ticks that may be on you,” said Roberts.
Also, before you leave your house, apply an insect repellent to any exposed skin as well as the outside of your clothing. Repellents that contain 15 to 30 percent deet earn most of the top spots in CR’s tests, but CR also recommends some products with 30 percent oil of lemon eucalyptus or 20 percent picaridin.
Two of Consumer Reports’ “best buy” options are Total Home Woodland Scent Insect Repellent and 3M Ultrathon Insect Repellent8.
Once you get home, hop in the shower and check yourself for ticks.
”Showering can wash away any ticks that may be on your skin but not yet attached, and it’s an opportunity to check your skin for any bites,” Roberts said.
If you are bitten by a tick, Consumer Reports recommends you don’t panic. Just grab a pair of tweezers and carefully remove it. The sooner you remove the tick, the less chance it will have to transmit disease.
Don’t forget to check your pets for ticks as well. Consumer Reports offers a step-by-step guide for pet protection -- which includes specific places you need to inspect carefully from their heads to their paws. You can find that here: https://www.consumerreports.org/pets/tick-prevention-for-dogs-cats/.