How do ticks affect my family and me?
Posted August 29, 2018
A profile on ticks and the impact they can have on our health and what you can do to protect your family
Summer and fall, for many, are the best times to spend with family and friends. Moreover, being outside means connecting with nature, plenty of fresh air, and lots of fun. Some outdoor activities does expose you to certain risks—and ticks bites are one of them. There are ways to avoid tick bites that can potentially cause disease. Remember, just because you get bit doesn’t mean you will get sick. However, it is always a good idea to educate yourself and your family on ways to avoid tick bites.
Most Americans have at least some familiarity with ticks—perhaps the most common association of the parasite is that it transmits: Lyme disease. Other common diseases ticks transmit to humans are Lyme disease, babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Symptoms vary widely but can cause serious short and long-term harm.
Prevalence or existence of diseases varies by geographic areas. It can be helpful to know which ticks are in your area to better protect yourself and your family by using this resource from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
You may like to garden, hike, bike, or have a barbecue with friends, but no one likes being sick. There are ways to do the things you love while preventing tick bites. Keep reading for the best ways to keep ticks away so that you and your family can play!
Ticks like to live in brushy, grassy areas with high grass so if you know you are going be spending time in that type of environment make sure to take precautions. 
Using personal insect repellent:
- Consider using a product with active ingredients like DEET and Picaridin that lists ticks on its label. In fact, the Centers for Disease and Prevention recommend products that contain 20 percent or more DEET or Picaridin. These products affect the scent receptors in ticks which makes it hard for them to recognize and bite you.
- Always read the label for proper use instructions.
- Only apply personal insect repellents to exposed skin and not under clothing.
- If using sunscreen as well, apply sunscreen first then apply personal insect repellent.
- When using personal insect repellent on the face, apply to hands first then on face.
- Do NOT allow children to handle personal insect repellents. To apply it to children, spray or apply the cream to your own hands first, then apply it to the child.
Take some time to decide what product is right for you and your family. Your decision might change if you’re an adult or if you plan on using on a child. The right product might also differ if you’re gardening, hiking, relaxing, or exercising, or lastly if you need 2-hour protection or 8.
Taking additional safety precautions:
- Wear light-colored, long sleeves and long pants while in areas with ticks
- Stay on trails and avoid walking through high grass
- Consider tucking your shirt in and tucking pants into socks. You could also wear a hat.
After you come home from the outdoors, make sure to perform tick checks. Ticks like to hide on clothing, pets, gear, and you. Carefully examine your pets and clothing for ticks and give yourself and any children a thorough tick check. If possible, take a bath or shower within two hours of being outdoors. Bathing will help to wash off any ticks that may have crawled on you.
Ticks like warm places so here are common locations they hide:
If you find a tick don’t panic, make sure to remove it properly as soon as you find it but avoid home remedies that make the tick detach on its own. Immediate and safe removal is most important. Take a look at the CDCs recommendation on proper tick removal.
If a tick bites you, check out the CDCs symptoms of tickborne illness to keep an eye out for possible symptoms. Spending time outdoors is the best part of summer but stay safe by taking the proper precautions to avoid tick-borne diseases.