An adventure in nature is an unforgettable and healthy activity for the whole family, but it requires attention and care because there are regions infested with ticks. These insects carry dangerous diseases such as spotted fever (known as Rocky Mountain Fever in the US) and Lyme disease that affect both humans and pets. Have fun safely by taking simple steps to prevent bites while camping or outing in the countryside.
Method 1 of 4: Avoiding Tick Infested Areas
Step 1. Prefer to walk in areas with more sun when under the trees
Ticks like to be in the shade, grass, branches, leaves on plants and trees. Avoid getting deep into the bush and reduce the risk of being bitten.
- To survive, insects need moist environments that are protected from the sun and wind.
- Ticks do not “jump” from trees, but climb them; if it touches the trunk, they can pass into your body.
Step 2. Get away from hiding places
This species loves to stay in piles of decaying leaves. Therefore, it is best not to step on or sit near these places.
- Do not set up your tent or camp in places close to fallen leaves.
- Remember to bring folding chairs so you don't sit on the floor.
Step 3. Stay away from tall grass
Ticks tend to sit on grass or tall vegetation waiting for their host (human or animal). When passing or bumping into plants they can stick to you.
- These animals hang on the edge of the bush supported on their hind legs and leave their front paws free to grab the next victim.
- Such behavior can be called “hunting” or hunting for prey.
Step 4. Look for sunny places
This will reduce the risk of insects sticking and stinging your skin as they seek refuge in wet, darker places.
- The nymphs, “puppies” of this species do not survive if there is not a lot of moisture.
- Set up the tent in open terrain where it gets plenty of sun so you don't run the risk of being bitten by ticks.
Step 5. Walk through the trails and clearings
Using such a strategy will keep you safe from these pests.
- Deforested areas do not have the right environment to protect this type of insect.
- Parks and campgrounds are often sprayed with products to eliminate bloodsuckers.
- Those who explore off the trails or in safe spaces expose themselves to contact with insects.
Step 6. Check with site administration
Ask staff at the national park or camp for directions to the best places to pitch tents that are free of ticks.
- Please call the place you want to go to organize yourself before travelling.
- Search the internet for tick alerts on the pages of parks or camping spaces.
Step 7. Protect pets
They are exposed to infestation and tick-borne diseases that, after attacking them, can also suck people's blood.
- Put a tick collar on the dog when you take him camping and avoid walking him in spaces where the parasite likes to live.
- It's not always easy to find the bugs trapped in the dog's fur, so whenever you return from a walk in the wild, inspect it to make sure it's free of the bugs.
- Ask your veterinarian for tips on how best to prevent parasite infestation in your pet.
- There are several product options, such as ampoules (liquid to be placed on the nape or back), sprays, collars and pills to protect the animal.
Method 2 of 4: Wearing Clothing to Protect Yourself from Ticks
Step 1. Prefer long-sleeved shirts and long pants
Thus, it will reduce the chances of being bitten, as the skin is covered and it will make the attack difficult, even if some parasite manages to get under the cloth.
- Put your shirt inside your pants and your socks over the hem to keep insects out of your clothes.
- Pass the masking tape at the height of the hem of the pant legs that are inside the socks so that they are well sealed and provide extra protection.
Step 2. Wear a hat
Protect your head with a cap or scarf.
- Ticks don't jump on people, but they manage to crawl very well and grab something that bumps into the plant, for example.
- They like to prick the neck, around the ears, in areas near the head where the skin is thinner and the “host” (human or animal) has difficulty finding it.
Step 3. Keep your hair up
Wear a ponytail, bun or braid and keep your locks secure to avoid “sweeping” plants or other insect hideouts and taking them with you.
- After all, nobody wants to carry the bloodsuckers.
- These measurements help to check that you do not have any insect attached to the skin.
Step 4. Choose “solar” clothes
It is easier to find ticks on fabrics that reflect light.
- Baby nymphs or ticks are tiny as a poppy seed (smaller than a sesame seed), but finding them in light clothing is not an impossible task.
- Also, these colors will help to dissipate heat as you will be wearing long-sleeved pants and shirts.
Step 5. Clothing with repellent is a good investment
Fabrics containing permethrin, a repellent capable of killing ticks, is one of the most efficient ways to protect against bites from this pest.
- The repellent is colorless and odorless.
- On commercially treated clothes, the product should last up to 70 washes.
- For those who fear an allergic reaction to applying repellents directly to the skin, this is a good option.
- It is possible to buy permethrin spray and spray clothes at home, but the homemade solution lasts less on the fabric. Also, be careful with your cats as they can become intoxicated and even die from permethrin.
- The repellent parts and kits can be found at sporting goods stores or on the internet.
Method 3 of 4: Choosing and Applying the Repellent
Step 1. Find the right repellent
Not every product is effective against ticks. Read the package insert to make sure it works.
- Repellents containing DEET are the most efficient option to apply to the skin and prevent infestation.
- In Brazil, the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) allows the sale of products with DEET with up to 15% concentration; these last about six hours; after that period, it must be reapplied.
Step 2. Follow the instructions on the package insert
Repellents are made with different chemicals and can be dangerous, so be aware of the step-by-step instructions for using them.
- Avoid passing it on your hands, eyes and mouth (mucosa in general).
- Talk to your pediatrician to find out which repellent is safer for children. Anvisa recommends the use of products with DEET (up to 10%) only for those over two years of age and IR3535 (30%) from six months of age onwards.
- Pregnant women should talk to the gynecologist and ask for an indication of the most suitable product for preventing these insects.
- Reapply protection as per manufacturer's recommendation.
- Take a shower to remove the product when you are at home.
Step 3. Don't forget your shoes
Spray repellent on and off the shoes to reduce the risk of ticks on the ground.
Keep in mind that these actions are the front line of protection against stings from this parasite
Step 4. Treat clothing and fabrics with repellents that contain permethrin
It is highly effective in repelling and killing ticks, but be aware that it is not safe to apply directly to your skin. And in the fabric it lasts longer, even after a few washes.
- Permitrine products can be purchased at sports, camping, and online stores.
- The rule is clear, always read and follow the manufacturer's instructions before using.
- Remember to spray the suddenness inside the clothes, to prevent if the parasite goes up on the wrong side of the fabric.
- For those who are reluctant to deal with the product, one option is to research and buy garments that are already treated with repellent.
- They have greater durability and, therefore, guarantee protection for a longer time, even after many trips to the washing machine.
Step 5. Search for natural tick repellents
Knowing and testing herbal products is an alternative for those who are concerned about health risks, such as allergies, for example, which can be caused by chemical substances passed on the skin or clothes. You can buy it in nature stores or make it at home with the help of recipes that can be found online.
- They have ingredients like fresh herbs or essential oils of lavender, roses, geranium, rosemary, cedar, among others.
- In this case, it is also worth reading the indications carefully.
- Talk to your pediatrician and veterinarian before applying the homemade product to children and pets.
Step 6. Don't use your repellent on the dog
Pets have specific products for them. Before buying, check if it is safe to apply to your pet.
- Ask your veterinarian to recommend an effective tick repellent.
- They are available in ampoules (pipettes), collars and anti-tick tablets.
- The offer of repellents is big in pet stores, so the tips of your pet's doctor will help you make the best choice.
Method 4 of 4: “Hunting” Ticks
Step 1. Every two to three hours, check if the dog, friends or you “caught” ticks
As such a parasite transmits very dangerous diseases, checking to see if someone is infested reduces the risk of contamination. Look in the following places:
- Under the arms, underarms and behind the knees.
- Inside the navel.
- Around the waist.
- Between the legs.
- Around the ears.
- A hand-held or full-length mirror makes it easier to find ticks.
Step 2. Take a shower as soon as you can
This is a task that can be difficult during camp, but it helps to find and remove parasites that are trapped in the skin.
It's a good time to “hunt” these insects
Step 3. Put the clothes in the dryer as soon as you return home
This will kill parasites that happen to be left on your clothes after your trip or camping trip.
- To sterilize the parts, use the dryer on high temperature for 10 to 15 minutes. If you don't have the equipment, ironing clothes can also be efficient.
- Do this before washing clothes, as studies show that washing, even with hot water, does not kill ticks.
- Do not, under any circumstances, leave items that may be contaminated in a pile or in the laundry basket.
Step 4. Remove any parasites from shirts, pants, socks and lingerie
Use a piece of masking tape or tape and collect the insects, which are not stuck together, with the glue side. Then fold the adhesive piece with the animal inside, close it tightly and throw in the trash.
- Take a roll of masking tape to camp. So you'll be prepared for battle.
- An adhesive roller for removing hair from fabrics also serves to catch the bloodsuckers.
Step 5. Extract attached ticks
To get rid of insects attached to the skin, use pointed tweezers to catch the bug.
- Fine-tipped tweezers are more practical for picking up and removing whole parasites.
- A tool with rounded tips can tear the insect just as it is trying to pull it, and if this happens, you will expose yourself to contamination from diseases spread by the parasite.
- Never wring the tick or use heat or solvents to get it out.
- First, disinfect the region of the body where the animal is attached with alcohol.
- A doctor-prescribed antibiotic ointment or cream may be applied to treat the bite.
Step 6. Send the tick for testing
If you live in or have visited an area where tick-borne diseases such as spotted fever have been reported, it may be a good idea to collect some insects in a plastic bag (Ziploc type) and send them for testing at the animal and disease control service transmitted by them.
- Note the date and place where you found the parasite.
- Look for the sanitary surveillance and zoonoses control service in your region to identify the type of tick.
Remember to pack a roll of masking tape, sharp tweezers and zip-lock plastic bags in your suitcase in case you need to remove ticks while camping or outing in the countryside
- By killing a tick with clean hands, you can become infected with parasite-borne diseases. Always use a tool (tweezers) to help get the insect out, and remember to wash your hands after you finish the “hunt”.
- Carefully follow the instructions for using the repellents.
- Do not apply permethrin-based products directly to the skin. Use only on clothes made with him or on which you sprayed.
- Consult your pediatrician or veterinarian before using the product on pregnant women, children and pets.