Most of us enjoy getting outside and enjoying the great outdoors. Especially here in Minnesota, there are so many trails to hike, places to see, things to do. But there is one thing individuals need to be wary about when spending a lot of time outdoors, deer ticks. Deer ticks, also known as black-legged ticks, are just one of the 13 tick species found in the state of Minnesota. These ticks are potential carriers for numerous diseases such as Lyme disease, Human Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis, and more. Individuals are most at risk of these insects from May through mid-July. Deer tick risk is still present, but significantly lower, in the early spring and again in the fall. They are commonly found in hardwood forests and brushy areas, as well as in woodpiles, leaf litter, and beach grass. If you plan on spending a day near a type of environment like these, we suggest you take extra precautions to make sure you, your loved ones, and furry friends are safe.
We did our research and found a few ways to help prevent getting bit by a deer tick. According to Minnesota DNR, the following tactics will help you stay safe during the tick season.
- When in deer tick habitat, walk in the center of the trail to avoid picking up ticks from grass and brush.
- Wear light-colored clothing so ticks will be more visible.
- Create a barrier to ticks by tucking pants into socks or boots and tuck long-sleeved shirts into pants.
- Use a repellent containing DEET or permethrin, and carefully follow the directions on the container.
- After being outdoors in tick habitats, get out of your clothes immediately, do a complete body check, shower, and vigorously towel dry. Wash your clothes immediately as to not spread any ticks around your living area.
- Pets should also be checked for ticks.
Spraying yourself with tick repellent is a fast and efficient way to make sure you are safe on all your outdoor adventures. When looking for a repellent that truly keeps deer ticks away, these four active ingredients are what you should look for according to the CDC:
- Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus.
Furthermore, we have found some of the top-rated tick repellents, and we highly recommend you take one of them with you when hiking down trails or trekking through the woods. The first product we recommend is Off! Deep Woods Insect Repellent, the second is Ben’s Tick and Insect Repellent, the third is Natrapel 12-Hour Tick and Insect Repellent, and lastly, the fourth is Sawyer Products 20% Picaridin Insect Repellent. All these repellents contain one or more of the CDC-recommended active ingredients. In addition to looking for the four active ingredients, make sure the repellents you purchase are approved by the Environmental Protection Agency, which you can search for here.
If you do find a tick on yourself or someone else, make sure to remove the tick as soon as possible. The risk of getting a tick-borne disease is small when the tick is removed soon after it becomes attached. Here are some quick tips when removing a deer tick:
- Use a Tick Key to grasp the tick close to its mouth.
- Gently and slowly pull the tick outward.
- To avoid contact with the bacteria, if present, do not squeeze the ticks’ body.
- Wash the area and apply an antiseptic to the bite.
- Watch for early signs and symptoms of Lyme disease.
The Tick Key, which can be found at Duluth Pack, in-stores and online, uses natural forward leverage and removes even the toughest engorged ticks. It is safe to use on humans and pets and small enough to fit on any keychain. This gadget would make a great addition to any outdoor activity.
We hope you use these deer tick prevention tips and tricks on your next adventure. If you have any personal insights on other ways to stay safe during deer tick season, give us a shout at [email protected].
Stay safe, friends!