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Our thoughts on everything from what attracts mosquitoes to why you should live life outdoors — and more!
Memorial Day weekend: It’s the unofficial start of summer, and many families spend it traveling or enjoying the outdoors. Considering the occasion also marks the height of bug season, it’s important to know how to stay safe outdoors and prevent getting bit.
As the weekend draws closer, remember that mosquitoes are most active near water sources and in the evening hours. If you’re outside between sunset and sunrise during your festivities, it’s recommended to wear long sleeves and an effective repellent on exposed skin and even clothing during that time. If you can, also dress in light-colored clothing, as mosquitoes can actually see people more visibly in dark colors. For more facts about mosquitoes, refer to our previous blog post.
Where there are mosquitoes, there are often ticks! Experts predict that 2017 will potentially be a huge tick season, so here are a few tips to keep in mind when it comes to warding off these unwanted pests:
- Know where to expect ticks. They most often live in wooded or grassy areas and on plants like shrubs, even in your backyard. When you do venture out, wear long pants and socks, tucking your pant legs into your socks. White socks are preferable over dark for the simple fact that a dark tick is easier to see on white material.
- Stay in the center of trails. If you’re hiking, walking or running on a trail, staying in the center will decrease the chance that you’ll rub your leg against something holding a tick.
- Check your clothing and body for ticks. Good places to check include in and around your hair and ears, under your arms, inside your belly button, between your legs, on the backs of your knees and around your waist. If you do find a tick, remove it with fine-tipped tweezers by grabbing the tick as close to your skin as possible. Afterward, clean the area with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
- Put your clothes in the dryer. As soon as possible after returning indoors, put your clothes in the dryer on high for about 10 minutes. If you need to wash the clothes first, use hot water, as heat is one of the most effective ways to kill ticks.
- Take a shower. Doing so will help wash off unattached ticks, and it also provides an ideal time to check for ticks you might have missed. Showering within two hours of being outside is recommended.
- Discourage deer. Remove plants in your yard that attract deer, and put up barriers to discourage them to come close so they don’t bring ticks with them.
- Remove litter and tall grasses. Maintain your yard by keeping the grass short and trimming shrubs regularly. Keeping bushes separate from play areas will also help.
- Consider a chemical control agent. Applying a chemical agent to your yard professionally or on your own can really reduce the presence of ticks.
- Watch for physical symptoms. If you notice any unusual symptoms and recall being bitten in the last month or so, call your doctor.
These tips are helpful to apply if you’re planning to be outside, but don’t let the risk of mosquitoes or ticks put a damper on your plans. For your best line of defense, keep them in mind and remember to use all natural repellents!