Six Tips For Healthy Hiking Near Ticks (and Other Bug-Ridden Areas)

Depend­ing on where and when you’re hik­ing, you could find dis­ease-car­ry­ing ticks on your body,  clothes or dog—especially in warm, heav­i­ly wood­ed areas. Here are five tips to reduce your chance of tick bites, and some bite treat­ment advice.

1. Wear the Right Clothing
Cloth­ing is your best weapon against ticks. Wear long sleeves and pants instead of a tank and shorts. As an extra pre­cau­tion, tuck your pants into your socks to make it even hard­er for ticks to access your skin. Pro­tect your feet, ankles, and head by wear­ing a hat and prop­er shoes or boots—no sandals!

Don­ning light-col­ored cloth­ing makes it eas­i­er to spot ticks that have jumped aboard. You may also con­sid­er invest­ing in clothes pre­treat­ed with tick repellent.

2. Check Yourself
Most hik­ers know to always do a full body check after a hike, but few remem­ber to do quick checks through­out a hike. Why? Because ticks typ­i­cal­ly spend a bit of time hav­ing a wan­der around your skin before they decide on a spot to bite. And it is much eas­i­er to remove a tick that has­n’t yet sunk its teeth sunk into you!

3. Stick to the Mid­dle of the Trail
Instead of fly­ing, ticks hang on grass blades and bush­es just wait­ing to latch on to a passer­by. This is why you should walk in the mid­dle of the trail if you are hik­ing in a tick-rid­den area.

4. No sit­ting on the Ground
Ticks also crawl on the ground, so avoid sit­ting direct­ly on the ground. Instead, choose a bench or large rock.

5. Choose and Use a Repellent
Tick repel­lent tends to be very effec­tive, though it’s worth research­ing which repel­lents have the best reviews. You can also use per­me­thrin, as it has been found to reduce the chance of tick bites.

6. If You Dis­cov­er a bite
If you get a tick bite, you’ve got to remove the tick. Start by wip­ing the area with an anti­sep­tic solu­tion, and then remove the tick using tweez­ers. Place each side of the tweez­ers on each side of the ticks head, and then pull the tick out. Don’t squish the tick or pull it side­ways, as this can leave part of the tick still in your skin. If part of the tick is still attached, use a ster­il­ized nee­dle to remove the remains. When you are cer­tain all tick bits are removed, clean the area again with an anti­sep­tic solution.

Impor­tant! If you notice a rash or devel­op an itchy feel­ing near a tick bite, speak to a med­ical pro­fes­sion­al imme­di­ate­ly. It’s pos­si­ble the bite is infect­ed or you may have con­tract­ed a tick-borne disease.