Outdoorsy types aren't the only ones who need to worry about ticks -- you could pick one up in your own yard while gardening or playing outside. Prevent tick bites and tick-borne illnesses with these four steps:
It's smart to wear light-colored clothing and shoes during the summertime because they help keep you cooler -- and, as it turns out, they help you spot any ticks that may be crawling on you. Also, although it won't win you any fashion awards, tucking your pant legs into your socks can help minimize ticks crawling up your legs or into your shoes.
Insect repellents that contain DEET or permethrin can reduce your chances of tick bites. DEET products may be applied directly to exposed skin (not skin under your clothing) and to clothing, but should be used sparingly on kids -- look for products with about 20 percent DEET concentration, and apply it to your child's body, avoiding his or her face and hands. Permethrin should only be applied to clothing.
Know Your Enemy
Ticks like to hang out in grassy or wooded areas, and they are especially fond of places that are moist or humid.
Be Vigilant with Tick Checks
Do a tick check on everyone in the family every night. Contracting a tick-borne illness can take up to 36 hours if a tick isn't removed, so you want to be prompt and thorough. The CDC recommends you check under the arms, between the legs, around the waist, inside the navel, and don't forget the hairline and scalp.
Tick removal isn't complicated but there is a technique. Use fine-tipped tweezers, not your bare fingers, to detach the tick. Hold the tick in the tweezers (get as close to the skin as you can) and pull upwards. Be as steady as you can, as twisting and turning could cause the tick's mouth to break off under the skin (if that happens, use your tweezers to remove it). That's it -- it's out! Disinfect the area and you're done.