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Preventing Tick Bites: Tips for Enjoying the Outdoors Safely. By Our Student Pharmacist, Lee Zimmer.

This may be biased, but summers in Ohio are simply the best, that is, when it isn’t storming or blisteringly hot. As the summer season unfolds in central Ohio, many people may be eager to embrace the great outdoors and enjoy the amazing trails and metro parks around us. However, before you run out the door and start doing cartwheels, we should have a quick discussion about one of the potential health risks this season – tick bites. Ticks can carry diseases like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and can pose a threat to not just our well-being, but to our pets as well. Forewarned is forearmed as they say, so don’t fret! In this blog post, we’ll provide you with valuable tips to prevent tick bites, ensuring you can safely enjoy your outdoor adventures.

  • Know Your Enemy: Understanding Ticks and Their Habitats

To effectively prevent tick bites, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with these tiny arachnids.

The three medically important tick species in Ohio are the:

  • American dog tick
  • Blacklegged tick (aka Deer tick)
  • Lone Star tick

While some species can actually remain active throughout the entire year, the time of greatest activity for most tick species is from spring to fall. The American dog tick inhabits grassy areas along roads or paths, often next to wooded areas. The Blacklegged tick prefers wooded areas, while the Lone Star tick loves shady areas next to meadows and roadsides.

3. Ticks #1


  • Dress to Repel: Tick-Proof Clothing Choices

Wearing the right clothing can act as a barrier against ticks. Opt for long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and closed-toe shoes whenever possible. Tuck your pants into your socks or boots to minimize exposed skin. Additionally, choose light-colored clothing to spot ticks more easily.

  • Tick Repellents: Safeguarding Your Skin

Apply an EPA-approved tick repellent to exposed skin and clothing. Look for products containing DEET (25% minimum), picaridin, or permethrin. Follow the instructions carefully, ensuring thorough coverage. Remember to reapply as recommended, especially if you’re engaging in prolonged outdoor activities.
3. Ticks #2

  • Tick-Proof Your Yard: Creating a Tick-Unfriendly Environment

Make your yard less appealing to ticks by implementing a few simple measures:

  • Trim grass and vegetation regularly.
  • Keep leaf litter and brush cleared.
  • Create a barrier of wood chips or gravel between your yard and wooded areas.

Consider professional pest control treatments if necessary.

  • Conduct Tick Checks: Thoroughly Inspect Yourself and Others

After spending time outdoors, perform a thorough tick check on yourself, family members, and pets. Pay close attention to warm areas like armpits, behind the ears, along the hairline, and between toes. Promptly remove any attached ticks using fine-tipped tweezers, grabbing as close to the skin as possible (you want to get the WHOLE tick), and clean the area with antiseptic.

Side note, please don’t attempt to burn ticks off of yourself or someone else. It feels pretty self-explanatory why that is a bad idea, but it needed said.3. Ticks #3

  • Protect Your Pets: Tick Prevention for Furry Friends

Ticks pose a significant risk to our beloved pets. Consult your veterinarian to determine the most appropriate tick prevention methods for your furry companions. Options may include tick collars, topical treatments, or oral medications. Regularly inspect and groom your pets to catch any hitchhiking ticks.

  • Educate Yourself: Recognizing Tick-Borne Diseases

Familiarize yourself with the signs and symptoms of tick-borne diseases prevalent in Ohio, such as Lyme disease spread by the Blacklegged tick. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that ticks need to be attached for 24 hours or more to transmit disease. If you experience any unusual symptoms (like fever or flu-like symptoms) within a few weeks of a tick bite, contact your health care provider and emphasize that you were recently bitten by a tick.

3. Ticks #4With the right knowledge and preventive measures, you can enjoy the summer season while minimizing the risk of bites from these little blood suckers (and mosquitoes too, but that’s another topic for another day). Add these tips into your outdoor routine, educate others about tick prevention, and remember to check yourself and others.

Tick-related concerns shouldn’t prevent you from experiencing the warm weather while we have it, so get out there and hit the trails or amble through the parks and green spaces we are lucky to have around us. Stay safe, stay informed, and savor every moment!

For more information on ticks, check out the CDC’s website: https://www.cdc.gov/ticks/

For information about central Ohio Metro Parks, including maps and events, check out: https://www.metroparks.net/

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