When you are planning a hiking trip, it is important to be mindful of how to avoid getting ticks while hiking while you are out on the trail. These small, blood-sucking parasites can pose a serious health risk if they end up biting you during your hike. There are several things that you can do to prevent ticks from coming into contact with your skin.
How To Avoid Getting ticks while hiking: the most effective ways to keep ticks at bay
On hiking trails across Ontario, ticks are a common occurrence, so hikers must learn how to avoid being bitten by them. While having a tick attached to your skin is unpleasant, some ticks are more harmful than others. Lyme disease is a serious and sometimes fatal illness that is spread by certain people.
I’m writing this brief and straightforward guide to assist you in avoiding tick bites while hiking. Ticks can be safely avoided while exploring the great outdoors if a few simple precautions are taken. I’ll demonstrate the best methods for avoiding ticks, what to wear while hiking to avoid ticks, and much more.
While it may appear as though you’re always carrying a tick or two, this is not always the case. These are the most effective methods for avoiding ticks while hiking, and they require little planning or preparation.
Which Trails Should You Take To Avoid Ticks (And Which Should You Avoid)?
Avoid Ticks by Wearing the Following Clothes
Make wise clothing selections, as they have the power to make or break your appearance. Socks and closed shoes are recommended (not sandals). Verify that your pants are properly tucked into your socks. Wear long pants with a long-sleeved shirt tucked in. Wearing light-colored clothing also helps, as ticks are more visible in light colors.
If you insist on wearing shorts or tank tops, you will simply have to conduct more frequent self-checks. Gaiters are also an excellent way to protect your ankles and legs from ticks. The right clothing and accessories can make a significant difference in terms of tick avoidance while hiking.
When you return home, dry your outdoor clothing on high heat for an hour before washing it to ensure that any ticks you may have missed have been killed. Ticks prefer moist environments and will die if dried.
Tick repellent is an excellent method of warding off ticks.
Tick repellents containing DEET or icaridin are permitted to be applied to exposed skin or clothing in Canada. In the United States, permethrin, an insect repellent treatment for fabrics, is available. Permethrin products are not available for sale in Canada, but they are approved for use. Numerous Americans will purchase these (as many cannot be shipped to Canada).
Ticks, mosquitoes, biting flies, gnats, and other insects are repelled by DEET repellent. Numerous American websites have stated that they will not ship permethrin products to Canada (I checked REI). On Amazon, you can purchase permethrin-treated clothing such as this long-sleeved top and these tick-repelling leggings.
How to Avoid Ticks While Hiking
When hiking, keep an eye on your step. Certain sections of the hiking trails are more infested with ticks than others. For example, ticks are most prevalent in dense brush and tall grasses, especially on hot days.
Ticks do not jump or fly, contrary to popular belief. They may attach to you if you walk through tall grass or brush. Ticks are most frequently found on grass blade tips or the undersides of shrubs. If you want to avoid ticks while hiking, stay as close to the path’s center as possible.
If your backpack comes into contact with something, ticks can become attached. When checking yourself for ticks, it’s always a good idea to check your personal belongings as well. If you stop to rest on a rock, perform a quick tick check before continuing your hike. While playing in leaf piles, keep in mind that you may be surrounded by creepy crawly insects!
What is the best time of year to go hiking to avoid ticks?
Although ticks are most active in the spring and summer, they can be found throughout the year. Ticks are active on slightly warmer winter days as well! Ticks are active on any day that the temperature exceeds freezing. The days following a particularly cold day can be particularly hazardous. Ticks will be abundant and ravenous.
Having said that, I would not advise skipping a summer or fall hike, as these are arguably the best seasons for getting outside. On the coldest winter days, hiking is the best way to avoid ticks. Fortunately, precautions can be taken to ensure that we can enjoy the great outdoors throughout the year.
How to Conduct a Tick Examination
After your hike, ticks on your skin and clothing can be checked. Brush your clothing and equipment before climbing into your car and driving home. Additionally, it’s a good idea to check for ticks upon your return from a hiking trip.
Ticks can be located by stripping down to your underwear and searching for them. Check your skin for ticks by running your hands over it. Ticks prefer to climb up your body to find the best location to feed. People who are bitten by ticks most often have ticks in their hair and around their ears; they also bite beneath their arms; beneath their waists; around their belly buttons; and their groins.
How to Get Rid of a Tick
I’ll now discuss how to properly remove a tick, as well as what you should never do when removing a tick.
- Tweezers can be used to nab the tick as close to the skin as possible.
- Slowly remove the tick to avoid crushing its mouth or body.
- Place the tick in a tightly closed container or bag.
- Use soap and warm water to cleanse your skin.
- Bring the tick to the health department in your area for identification.
- If any tick parts remain embedded in your skin, attempt to remove them (if you are unable to, leave them alone and let your skin heal).
Avoid crushing the tick with your fingers, removing it with a match or heat, attempting to remove it by painting it with nail polish, putting Vaseline on it, or waiting for the tick to come out or self-destruct. Remove it immediately using the procedure outlined above.
If you have been bitten by a tick, consult a physician
Have you ever had a tick bite you? It’s better to be safe than sorry if you suspect you’ve been bitten by a black-legged tick. Consult your physician immediately. The sooner you are diagnosed with Lyme disease, the better your chances of successful treatment and a speedy recovery.
When you visit the doctor, be sure to inform him or her of the length of time you believe the tick was attached to you and the location of the tick bite. Bring the tick that bit you to your doctor’s appointment if possible. If caught early enough, Lyme disease can usually be treated with antibiotics for two to four weeks.
Tick Protection for Your Dogs While Hiking
Tick bites are equally prevalent in dogs as in humans. Ticks should be checked on your dog, just as you would on your own body, before bringing him home. After a quick brushing, massage your dog’s belly, chest, and legs with your fingers. Tip: You can use the tick key to remove any ticks you find (some dog owners keep one on their keychain for this very reason).
Additionally, you can take precautions to keep ticks away from your dog. To begin, give your dog a monthly flea and tick preventative medication. While hiking, keep your dog on a leash and avoid letting him run through tall grass or piles of dead leaves. Keeping to the path is the most effective method of avoiding ticks.
By taking a few simple precautions, you can avoid ticks while hiking and enjoy great outdoor activities all year round! Be sure to conduct a tick check after your hike, and remove any ticks that you find. If you suspect you’ve been bitten by a black-legged tick, consult your physician immediately. Finally, take steps to protect your dog from ticks while hiking. With a little bit of knowledge and preparation, you can prevent tick bites and enjoy nature worry-free!