About Florida: Safety tips for ticks

Black Legged Tick (credit: cirrusimage.com)

Black Legged Tick (credit: cirrusimage.com)

How to stay safe from ticks on your Florida vacation

Those nasty little ticks are popping up around Florida earlier than usual this year and it seems as though they’re coming out in pretty big numbers. Good news for ticks, bad news for people, dogs and other animals they love to feed on.

Ticks, of course, are more of a concern than other bugs because of their reputation for carrying and spreading Lyme Disease. They also transmit Ehrlichiosis and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

Why are ticks around earlier and in greater numbers?

Some experts say that a warm winter ended up boosting the tick population while others say it’s those mild temperatures that had people enjoying the outdoors earlier than usual, putting them in the paths of more ticks earlier.

Here are tips to keep you safe from ticks

  • Remove a latching tick with tweezers, pulling it straight out as soon as you see it. Don’t mash the tick because that helps get bacteria into the area of the bite.
  • Use insect repellent on clothing and skin (not your face). Use the kind that contains DEET.
  • Avoid sitting on logs or on the ground in a bushy area
  • When hiking through the woods, tuck your shirt into your waistband and tuck your pant legs into your socks. No, it’s not a great fashion statement but it helps to prevent ticks from hitching a ride.
  • Keep to the center of the trail you’re hiking on so that ticks don’t fall down from overhanging brush, onto your clothing.
  • When you’re leaving a tick-infested area check pets and all of your family members for evidence of ticks.
  • If you find a tick on you, mark the date on a calendar so that if a rash develops you can tell the doctor when you were bitten so s/he will know if your symptoms were tick-related.

Tell us…

Do you have any additional safety tips for dealing with or avoiding ticks?