Protecting Yourself From Ticks & Other Harmful Bugs
When planning any kind of outdoor event it is essential to remember to be prepared to fend off bugs. Bug bites can turn any outdoor event into a miserable disaster. What sucks about bugs is that most of the time keeping them away is a thought that doesn’t even enter your mind until it is too late and you are already being eaten alive by them. On top of the itchy pain of bug attacks comes the spread of diseases that can affect your health. Some can affect you for the rest of your life; especially when dealing with issues like Lyme Disease if not caught and treated promptly. West Nile Virus is another health risk that can result in death. It is very important to be armed with bugs.
Lets first take a look at how to avoid dealing with ticks since they are one of the most well-known pests of the wilderness. Ticks seem to like hanging out in high grass and densely wooded areas. The best solution when dealing with ticks is to avoid them. When walking in the woods try to stay on the trails provided. Ticks usually stay in brushy, unattended areas; so try not to go tromping through places such as these. If you take your dog with you make sure s/he is updated with all the required shots including a Lyme disease vaccination.
This is important because Lyme Disease can kill your dog. Also it is very hard to recognize on a dog because their hair often covers the rash and when symptoms become noticeable it is often too late. When spending time in the woods make sure you take some precautions when you are dressing. Try to stick with wearing lighter colored clothing so that if you do attract a tick you can spot it easily. Wear long pants so that you can tuck them into your socks thus sealing out these little predators. Try to wear long sleeve shirts too and if you can handle it tuck your shirt into your pants. Also wear a hat. This is proper attire for avoiding tick bites. Okay, okay I know most of you won’t be able to handle dressing like this on a warm day in the middle of your vacation that normally is a symbolic representation of freedom, so the last thing you want to do is wear this sort of restrictive clothing.
I don’t blame you, but this sort of restriction is far better than the restriction that Lyme Disease can cause gone untreated five or ten years down the road when you are wondering why it is too painful for you to walk the fifteen feet from your living room to your bathroom on the bad days. Whats worse is that it is very tricky to diagnose a case of Lyme Disease after the rash is gone, and the doctor bills can be pricey. Another thing you can do is arm yourself with bug spray, the only problem with this is that ticks are much more resilient than the average bug, and there is still a pretty high risk of picking them up. So the last, and most important step in preventing tick issues is to make sure you check yourself and the people and pets with you thoroughly for ticks. Make sure to have someone else check the hard to see spots on your body. Look close because the most harmful ticks can be just larger than a pinprick.
You should be sure to check yourself daily for these guys. They should be removed relatively promptly to avoid the diseases they can spread and prevent infection. If you do find ticks be very careful removing them. Many people still think that the old way of grabbing a tick and twisting it counterclockwise until it comes out is effective. This technique has been proven ineffective. The most recent correct way to deal with removing ticks is first to make sure you have a pair of tweezers on hand so as to squeeze the tick as minimally as possible so that you do not squeeze any affected blood back into your body from the mouth of the tick with your big clumsy fingers. So get out the tweezers, grab the tick with them as close to the skin as you can get, and pull the tick straight out of the body at a steady pace.
Don’t use any lubricant or petroleum jelly. Make sure that you wash the area that you removed the tick from well. Then use a disinfectant such as hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, or iodine. Monitor this spot for any discoloration, swelling or rash. You should be seen by a doctor following any tick bite, but if this isn’t possible make sure that you keep an eye on the area. If you feel ANY symptoms of nausea, headache, fever, chills, sweating, or just sickly GO TO THE DOCTOR. Make sure you tell the doctor you were bitten by a tick. There can be severe consequences after leaving a tick bite untreated. Do not just shrug it off as a bug bite.
You should be prepared to deal with other bugs also. The mosquito is famous for spreading disease, leaving lots of itchy welts, and being just plain annoying. Another pest is the fly whose bite can be extremely painful; no, I am not talking about house flies, but those nasty black flies. Anyway, make sure you are prepared for them so they don’t ruin your day. Make sure you are always armed with bug spray.
Try to stay away from marshes, or damp grassy places. These little guys are usually most confrontational for a couple hours around dusk and dawn however they are always around. Try to keep all sticky sweet foods out in the open for the smallest time possible. When cleaning up after a pancake breakfast, or morning coffee etc. make sure you dispose of the garbage properly and keep it as far away from your campsite as possible as this will naturally attract bugs of all types and sizes. Try to stay away from wearing perfume or any strongly scented body products.
Try to avoid getting sweaty or overheated, bugs love sweaty prey. Try to keep candles and oil lamps that contain citronella or other bug repellents burning at your campsite to provide light to keep bugs away. Anything that has a strong sour smell will turn bugs off, but I find the best methods the things I previously mentioned simply because the natural nasty smelling things such as garlic turn me off too.
I hope you have learned many helpful ways to keep the bugs away when you are outside. If you master the technique of avoiding bugs you have the invaluable advantage of staying healthy. So now you are prepared to deal with the bugs and just have an itch less blast on your outdoor adventure. Have fun!