Ticks on humans — how can you avoid becoming a host? There are a few precautions you can take to avoid finding a tick on your skin, including wearing tick repellent and protective clothing when venturing outside.
Finding ticks on kids’ skin after a long day of playing in nature may occur, especially during the warmer months of the year. To help keep the ticks off, you will need to know what areas to avoid, how ticks get on a host and how to prepare before you venture outdoors. Find all your answers below.
TICKS AND THEIR SEARCH FOR A HOST
How do ticks get on you? Most ticks don’t go in search of their hosts but, instead, wait patiently for hosts to come to them by using a method called “questing.” When hunger strikes, a tick will climb on to the end of a long strand of grass or leaf that has fallen on the ground and wait for a host to walk by.
Ticks can sense their hosts by detecting their breath, body odor, heat and movements on the ground. Once a tick senses a host is nearby, it will extend its front legs forward in anticipation. If the host does brush past it, it will quickly climb on to the host’s body and crawl around looking for a place to sink its teeth into. Typically, a tick’s natural host will include small to large mammals, such as mice, birds, squirrels and deer, but ticks will live anywhere they can easily attach to hosts.
PROTECT YOURSELF AND YOUR PETS
Ticks can be active all year as long as the temperature is above freezing. In fact, they actively search for hosts in the winter if the temperature is above 45°F for at least a couple of days in a row. To help protect yourself and your pets, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following tips.
Use a Tick Repellent
When you are thinking of going for a hike or spending a lot of time outside, cover your clothing in a chemical repellent to help keep the ticks away. DEET, permethrin or picaridin are accessible over-the-counter repellents. To avoid ticks on pets, contact your veterinarian for a tick preventive product to help keep them protected, as well.
Wear Protective Clothing
Wear long sleeves and pants to help keep ticks from immediately coming into contact with your skin.
Avoid Tick-Infested Areas
Ticks like to live in wooded, grassy or bushy areas. If you are hiking or camping, avoid going off the paved trails. Additionally, you should inspect yourself and your pets for ticks as soon as you return home. The quicker a tick is removed, the least likely you are to get a tick-borne disease.
Inspect Your Home
Leaf litter, wooded areas and other pests can all attract ticks to your home. You should inspect your yard regularly and seek treatment from a pest control professional for help reducing tick populations around your home. Contact Terminix® today to find out what we can do to help.