Summertime Tick Bites: Prevention And Medical Clinic Treatment

The warm summer weather brings plenty of days of outdoor play. Along with fun in the sun comes run-ins with creatures and critters. If one of these chance meetings is with a tick, a trip to the nearest medical clinic may be on the horizon. Before you nix the notion of outdoor adventures this summer, out of tick-focused fear, take a look at how you can prevent bites and the related infections.

Understand the Environment 

Where do ticks live? The answer to this question may save you from a not-so-welcome bite. Even though a tick could live anywhere outdoors, you're more likely to find them in high grass or wooded areas. This could include your backyard, the neighborhood park, a national forest or the green space outside of your office.

You don't need to completely avoid all plant-filled spaces in the summer. If your outdoor activities take you into a densely wooded area or a space with tall grass, the following prevention tips can reduce the risks of picking up a tick.

Treat Clothing

Long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, socks and solid shoes (instead of flip-flops or sandals) can help to protect your skin from tick bites. Even though covering your skin will help to minimize the risk, you can still do more. Treating your clothes and shoes with a product that contains 0.5 percent permethrin can help to combat ticks.

Treat Your Skin

Exposed skin is fair game for ticks. An Environmental Protection Agency-registered repellent can help to keep these insects away. Products containing DEET, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, and picaridin have all been found to repel ticks. Never use any of these products on infants under 2-months-old. Take extreme caution when choosing insect repellents for use with children under 3-years. Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus and para-menthane-diol repellents are never safe for children under age three.

Spray your exposed skin with the product (and use it on your clothes if you haven't already pretreated them). Never spray an insect repellent directly onto your face, ears or neck. Instead, spray the product onto your hands and gently rub it onto your face/neck area. Avoid your eyes, nostrils, and mouth.

Check Yourself 

Always check your skin following outdoor activities. This means inspecting your entire body, including your scalp, between your toes and everywhere else. If you can't see some areas, ask a family member to help.

Along with your body, inspect your clothes, shoes and any items that you brought outdoors for ticks.

Call the Doctor

If you do find a tick on your body, use tweezers to pluck it off of the skin. Get as close to the skin as possible, pulling slowly with an upward motion. Never twist or squeeze the tick. Wash the bite with soap and water thoroughly. Call the doctor or visit a medical clinic if you can't remove the tick completely, you develop a rash in the bite area or anywhere on your body or you have concerns.

Prompt diagnosis and treatment from a medical clinic or another healthcare provider can minimize the severity of a tick-borne bite infection. While seeing a doctor right away won't immediately end the illness, the medical professional can prescribe an antibiotic — which may dramatically decrease the severity of the infection and help you to recover.