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How to prevent ticks when hiking?

Foto de Huellas Latinas. Whitewoods Regional Park - July 2022

How to prevent ticks when hiking?

If you are passionate about nature and enjoy hiking, you should be aware that ticks are a potential danger when walking in wooded areas or areas with tall vegetation, especially in the spring-summer season. 

These tiny parasites feed on the blood of animals, including humans, and can transmit dangerous diseases such as Borrelia mayonii disease, which is one of many tick-borne diseases in Minnesota. The agent of this disease is closely related to the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.

For this reason, we offer you some tips for preventing ticks while hiking.

  • Wear appropriate clothing

It is important to wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing that covers most of your body, such as long pants and long-sleeved shirts, to minimize the risk of tick contact. Light-colored clothing will help you spot ticks more easily.  Also, avoid wearing tight-fitting clothing that may allow ticks to attach to your skin. Consider pretreatment of clothing and personal gear with permethrin-based repellents to protect against tick bites for at least two weeks without reapplication. Do not apply permethrin to the skin.

  • Apply repellent

Use a safe and effective tick repellent if you spend time in or near tick areas. Follow product label directions and apply as directed. DEET-based repellents (up to 30%) are recommended for use on skin or clothing. Do not use DEET on infants under two months of age.

  • Stay on marked trails

Ticks tend to inhabit areas of tall vegetation, so it is important to stay on marked trails to minimize the risk of tick contact. If you need to leave the trail, do so with caution and avoid walking through areas of tall vegetation.

  • Inspect your body

Inspect your entire body closely with a mirror, especially hard-to-see areas such as the groin and armpits. especially hard-to-see areas such as the groin and armpits. Remove ticks as soon as you find them by using tweezers or your fingers to grasp the tick near the mouth. Pull the tick out slowly and gently. Clean the area with soap and water.

  • Check your clothing and equipment

Check your gear and pets for ticks. After your hiking adventure, it is recommended that you wash all clothing you have worn in hot water to kill any ticks that have been attached. If washing your clothing in hot water is not possible, it is recommended that you dry your clothing on high heat for at least 60 minutes.

  • Consult a physician if you feel ill

If you experience symptoms such as fever, fatigue, headache, or rash after being bitten by a tick, see your doctor immediately. These symptoms may be a sign of a tick-borne infection. Also, talk to your veterinarian about safe and effective products you can use to protect your pet.

Ticks can be a potential hazard when hiking in wooded or overgrown areas because of their ability to transmit dangerous diseases. Remember that preventing tick bites is the best way to avoid potential diseases. Follow these tips and enjoy your hiking adventure with peace of mind.


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