Hiking is an undeniably enjoyable activity for many people. Whether you are looking to lose some pounds, relax after a tiring week of work, or just get lost in nature, going on a hike can meet your needs without wrecking your budget.
However, nature is not always man's best friend. Taking a walk in the wilderness comes with its price. Between beautiful flowers and soothing grass live some dangerous insects, which may turn your trip into an unpleasant experience, to say the least. Notably, ticks are one of the most vicious species to look out for out in nature.
To make your experience fun and hassle-free, in this article you will find some useful tips on how to avoid ticks when hiking.
But before delving directly on how to steer clear of these insects, let's get to know them first.
What Are Ticks and What Danger do they present?
Ticks are a type of external parasite relating to the spider family. They have an incredibly small body even when they become adults, reaching 3 to 5 cm maximum. Meaning, high you will probably not notice them when they get into you.
As a parasite, ticks live on the blood of mammals, whether animals or humans and birds. They are a creature of the dark. They hide between grass, flowers, and trees. When they succeed to burrow into you, they dig into hidden areas such as the buttocks, armpits, and scalp.
Undoubtedly, ticks spread several diseases both to dogs and humans. These illnesses range from normal to dangerous. Mainly, they pass on:
- Lyme Disease
- Rocky Mountain wood tick
- Western black-legged tick
- Brown dog tick
- Gulf Coast tick
Tips To Avoid Ticks
Keeping away from ticks is not complicated, but it is not easy either. It takes a good amount of research, preparation, and alertness. Most importantly avoiding these repulsive creatures is not a one-step process.
You have to do certain things at a certain time to be on the safe side. In the following part, we will offer you the most effective ways to do before, during, and after hiking to protect yourself from ticks.
1 - Choosing Your Clothes:
• What Type Of Clothes Should You Wear?
The first thing to consider before embarking on your hike journey is what type of outfit you should wear. Many hikers tend to pick their clothes randomly without taking into consideration what risks are out there.
Let's start with what clothes you should avoid. Shorts, sleeveless tops, and distresses clothes are no for hiking. They are an easy way for ticks to get through them.
To protect yourself, you need to wear long-sleeved t-shirts and long-pants, or generally any outfit that fully covers your body. A good hat with neck cover is crucial to shield your scalp.
• How should you wear your Clothes?
The way you wear your hiking outfit is as important as picking the right clothes. Taking your top securely into your pants will prevent ticks from getting under your t-shirt or inside of your crotch. While attaching your pants, bottoms into your shoes will keep away these small insects from crawling to your legs.
• Bring Additional Clothes
You never know what can happen during your walk in nature. Having an additional outfit with you can save you in case a tick succeeded to burrow into your body.
2 - Get a Tick Repellent
Having a tick repellent is another security measure to keep away from illnesses. Yet, you should take into consideration that what works for mosquitoes or other insects does not necessarily work for ticks.
This is why relying on Permethrin as a repellent is an effective way. You can get it as a spray, cream, or even opt for specific hiking clothes infused with it. However, it is crucial to take precautions prior to using these repellent types.
3 - Pack a Tweezers or Ticks Removal Tools
No matter what measures of cautions you take, there is always a slight chance a tick can get the best of you. This is why having a tweezers or any specific tick removal gadget is necessary for a hiking trip. In case you catch it, you will have the tool to get out of your skin on the spot.
During the Hike
1 - Stick to a Clear Trail
Ticks love to hide. They choose trees, tall grass, plants, and flowers to dwell in. Since they are tiny, noticing them is hard. As a result, steering away from grassy areas is advisable to avoid these insects. It is better to stick to a clear trail with no plants or grass where ticks are unlikely to be found.
2 - Keep Your Dog on a Leash
Ticks feed on animals as well as human blood. Yet, they specifically adore dogs, which can be a magnet for them. With that being said, it is better not to let your dog stray playing in the grass. Because high probably, he will bring some ticks back with him.
1 - Get Rid Of Your Hiking Outfit
Now your additional clothes will do their job! As soon as you finish your hike, it is advisable to quickly change your clothes and put them in a plastic bag away from your other stuff. This will help avoid any dangers in case a tick got stuck between your clothes.
2 - Check Your Body Thoroughly
After you get into the privacy of your home, it is highly important to conduct a thorough check on all your body parts specifically your scalp, private area, and armpits where ticks mostly like to dig.
3 - Take a Shower Immediately
After checking your body, taking a shower is a must. One can never know! Showering with some antiseptic shower gel can prevent tick-borne illnesses and provide another opportunity to Fitch for them. Since with hot water, ticks can detach and float.
Everything in life has its price. And hiking makes no exception. While enjoying the beauty of nature and indulging in a relaxing walk with your loved ones, looking out for insects can be exhausting. This is why following this guide on how to avoid ticks when hiking can help you take effective measures before going on your trip next time.