When my husband was quite the adventurous kid. If it was outdoors, he was into it. Not even being bit by a tick phased him. Me, on the other hand? I usually avoid the outdoors and have a ferocious fear of ticks.
Confession? I had no clue what to look for when searching the kids, dogs, and husband for ticks. Luckily, the website for the Tick-Borne Disease Alliance (TBDA) is full of ways for you to “Get Informed / Get Protected / Get Involved”, including what ticks look like:
Are you shuddering with me? Good, 'cause that image is going to creep me out the when we're out having an adventure!
Beyond showing great photos like that (huh), they also have come out with some really great educational materials. There is a high-risk of Tick-Borne Disease in children ages 2-14, especially during the summer camp season. With this in mind, they suggest parents pack a ‘Tick Prevention Survival Kit' when the kids are vacationing. These kits would include:
Tick-Repellent Clothing. Brands such as Insect Shield, ExOfficio’s BugsAway or ElimiTick can be purchased from retailers like L.L. Bean and Eastern Mountain Sports and are effective for up to 70 washes. Clothing-safe tick sprays such as those with permethrin, an insecticide that repels and kills ticks, are a great alternative to pre-treated clothing. Footwear, socks and sleeping bags should always be treated along with pants and shirts.
Maximum Coverage Clothing. Children should bring along a pair of pre-treated, light-colored long pants, a long sleeve shirt and a hat. A reduction in the amount of skin exposed means a reduction in the number of places a tick can attack.
Insect Repellent that is approved by the EPA should be included and many brands come in easy-to-carry travel sizes that are perfect to take on long adventures. DEET is a well-known repellent, but it’s not recommended for children. Parents may want to try a spray like Buzz Away Extreme, Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent or Avon Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus Expedition.
Re-Sealable Bags. When returning from the outdoors, a child should place any untreated dirty clothes in a re-sealable bag until these clothes can be put in a dryer, which would kill any existing ticks. Sealing up the untreated dirty clothes will prevent any ticks that might be on these items from being transported to the child’s clean clothes, bedding and anywhere else.
Lots of Soap! Many ticks are so small that they can go unnoticed and showering immediately after spending time outside will help to spot and remove unattached ticks. Bath time is the perfect time for a child to carefully inspect themselves for any unwanted hitchhikers. Fun bath-time Products like Avon Kids Bath Time Body Paints or SpongeBob SquarePants Soap Filled Bath Sponge will entice kids to get clean as soon as possible.
Those tips sound great, especially the bath. I haven't stepped outside since reading these tips, but I sure do feel like I need a good shower with lots of soap ASAP. Joking aside, I am so glad the TBDA has these tips about how to prevent Tick-Borne Diseases like Lyme Disease. You can never be too sure, so play it safe outdoors this summer and pack a survival kit before you embark on a camping trip, a hike, or other adventures. I know we'll be!
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