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This is How to Avoid Ticks While Hiking

If you’re a hiker, you’re probably aware of the risks that come with tick bites. Ticks can carry the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, which causes Lyme disease. You can also catch other tick-borne illnesses from a tick bite – Elrichosis and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, among others. None of these diseases are good, so it’s best to avoid ticks while hiking.

The Blacklegged Tick, commonly known as the deer tick, is the most common tick known to carry Lyme disease. But, not all deer ticks even carry Lyme disease. So, if you’re bitten by a tick and it happens to be a deer tick, that still doesn’t mean you were exposed to Lyme disease. But, you should still take precautions to prevent tick bites.

Step 1: Don’t Go Where Ticks Hang Out

The best way to avoid a tick bite is to avoid ticks. It sounds simple, and it kind of is simple. But, there’s a strategy you should stick to in order to avoid ticks. If you can, avoid hiking trails that pass through overgrown grassy, brushy, or wooded areas. If the hike you’re going on has lots of bushwacking, your risk of coming in contact with a tick increases. If an area looks like ticks would thrive there, assume there will be ticks.

Ticks are tiny little insects that wait around for a mammal to latch onto. They’ll often climb to the top of a blade of grass or the edge and wait for dinner to pass by. If you avoid those places, you probably won’t be dinner.

Perform tick checks periodically throughout the day, especially after hiking through brushy sections. After you sit down for a break, check for any ticks that have just climbed onto your legs. You can also use a sit pad to avoid sitting directly on the ground or rocks.

Ticks like warm places, so do an especially thorough check on the backside of your knees, between your legs, and your upper arms near your armpits.

Step 2: Use Bug Repellant For those times when you do come in contact with ticks, use bug spray to repel them. Be especially vigilant with applying repellant from the waist down, since you’re more likely to brush against a tick with your legs.

Read Sam Schild's complete list of tips to avoid ticks here


December 3, 2023

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