Wood ticks. Eww, those pesky, eight-legged nuisances! Besides the gross factor, certain types of ticks carry an assortment of diseases including Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, babesiosis, and ehrlichiosis. Here are some helpful hints to keep those wood ticks away:
Avoid walking in wooded and bushy areas with tall grass and piles of leaves. When hiking, try to walk in the center of the trail. Wear light-colored clothing so that any ticks that catch on to your clothing can quickly be spotted. Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants to keep your skin protected from ticks. A pair of high boots is a good idea, too! Tuck your pants into the boots for extra protection. Try to minimize the gaps in clothing that a tick could get into. Examine your gear and clothing for ticks. Wash clothes right away and stick them in the dryer on high heat for one hour to kill any ticks that may be lingering. Do frequent tick checks! Anytime you come inside after hiking or playing outdoors is a good opportunity to do a tick check. Don't stop looking if you find one—there could be more! Take a bath or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors. This makes it easier to spot ticks that are crawling on you, and it helps to wash off any unattached ticks. Use a full-length mirror to help conduct a thorough full-body wood tick check. Parents should check their children for ticks, as well. Especially look for ticks under their arms, around their ears, in their hair, inside the belly button, behind their knees, and around the waist. Don’t forget to check your pets, too!
Sara Mackiewicz, RN, BSN
Public Health Nurse
Bayfield County Health Department