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Tips on Dealing with Ticks and Hiking

Watch Out For: Ticks

Exercising in the woods is perfect in the Summer because the challenging terrain offers you a tough workout, but the trees provide shade to prevent overheating. When on the trail you need not only to watch out for poison ivy, but be on the lookout for ticks as well. These little buggers are small, but their bites have the ability to transmit diseases such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia, Lyme disease, and other tick-borne illnesses. Blacklegged ticks (deer ticks), lone star ticks, and American dog ticks are all on the list of things you don't want touching your body.

To prevent ticks from landing on you and attaching to your skin, wear long sleeves, pants, and tall socks that cover your shins. Lighter colored clothing will make it easier to spot these dark bugs so you can flick them off. If it's too hot for all those clothes, then spray yourself with bug repellent. Also avoid walking in tall grassy areas. Be especially cautious in May, June, and July when ticks are most active. After an excursion in an area that's known for ticks, check yourself or have someone else check your skin — don't forget your armpits, scalp, and groin.

To find out what you should do if you see a tick stuck to your body


Remove the tick from your skin by using tweezers. Don't smother the tick with nail polish or petroleum jelly, and don't use a hot match. You want to avoid crushing the tick to ensure that the disease-causing bacterium stays inside the tick's body. Pull the tick out and if the mouthparts are still in your skin, pull those out too. Wash the area with soapy warm water. If a tick has latched on to you and it's been less than 24 hours, your risk of contracting a disease is fairly low. Monitor the bitten area as well as your overall symptoms over the next few weeks, just to be sure.

Is it just me, or does anyone else get itchy just looking at the images of ticks?


Join The Conversation
lilCROAT03 lilCROAT03 9 years
i scratched my head the other day and what do you know...
DeviousMuse DeviousMuse 9 years
This is definitely my LEAST favorite part of living in the South. I feel so badly for my dog, as she gets covered with them outside!
luxington luxington 9 years
Ewwww... thanks for reminding me why I live in a city and only work out at the gym.
cutiekat88 cutiekat88 9 years
i know it sooooooooooooooo gross.yeah hate them too.well i had them before.i had to go out and buy tick shampoo.pain in the butt.
Spectra Spectra 9 years
Ugh, I HATE ticks! Every time I go to my inlaws' farm, I have to check my clothes a million times to make sure none of them are hanging onto me. Usually, I only find a few wood ticks, but sometimes I find the occasional deer tick. I will never forget a camping experience where I came back from a trip and didn't notice a wood tick on my head. Even though I washed my hair several times after the tick had embedded, I never really realized it was there. My mom was putting my hair in a braid and she said "Oh my GOD! You have a tick the size of a grape on your head!" She carefully pulled out its mouth with a tweezers and blood went everywhere. The tick was humongous and all full of blood. Ugh, just thinking about that reminds me of WHY I hate those things so much!
kia kia 9 years
I am working in a lot of montane scrub and am exposed to ticks a great deal. I have a "tick spoon" on my key chain just in case. It is a notched spoon to fully remove the "mouth part". You want to make sure you get the hypostome out and get it clean so that no matter is transmitted from the tick to your body while it is being extracted... think of them as almost tossing their cookies into you as you are trying to squeeze them out. That is a no-no!
Sage-Eyes Sage-Eyes 9 years
Oh my goodness, just looking at those photos gives me the heebee-jeebees. I pulled at tick off my scalp a few months ago and felt like a hypochondirac for the next few weeks. Ugh. I hate ticks. A lot.
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