Disturbing, disgusting, creepy, and disease-ridden bugs are the things that you’re bound to come across on a hiking or camping trip. Depending on the season, weather, or time of the day, you may encounter obnoxious ticks that can seriously ruin the experience by bothering you throughout the journey. As a person who has been to literally hundreds of hikes, I can most certainly tell you that avoiding these annoying critters is possible without much of a hassle. Just like other precautionary measures, you have to equip yourself with proper gear in this case as well to have a tick bite free trip.
What Are Ticks?
Ticks are small arachnids that constitute the subclass Acari along with mites. They are carriers of numerous diseases that affect not only humans but also animals. They don’t really know how to fly but somehow always manages to attach itself to a host to suck blood. While these critters are harmless they usually cause nuisance, it’s still better to take precautions from bites that may cause intense itching and lead to infections.
Wear The Right Clothing
If you’re trying to minimize your exposure to ticks and other bugs, you’d want to start by covering up your body. Ticks have a tendency to latch on above your pant cuffs and slowly move upwards looking for ideas to burrow. They especially thrive in grassy areas due to favorable environmental conditions. Some clothing tips to avoid ticks are as follows:
- Wear long sleeve T-shirts and avoid wearing shorts as it is better to have most of your body covered and the least amount of skin exposure as possible.
- Don’t leave any chance of skin getting exposed; properly tuck your shirt into the pants and tuck the pants inside of your hiking boots.
- Where a cap that preferably has a flap to cover the behind of your neck.
- It is better to wear light colors so that you can identify the Ticks more quickly if they have latched on to the clothing.
- Buy waterproof clothing for extra protection and to ensure that the ticks do not find a habitable environment in your wearable.
How To Prevent Tick Bites On The Trail
Don’t deviate from the path: While the temptation to sneak off the trail and catch a glimpse of the perfect sunrise or sunset may be too tempting, you have to bear in mind that uncharted territory may bring unexpected problems. If you’re worried about ticks, be wary of shaded and grassy areas where they’re most likely to be found. Sticking to a marked trail is the best way to avoid these critters. If you have to deviate from the trailer, be sure to take proper precautions for unexpected encounters.
Check for ticks frequently: While traveling, check for ticks regularly and brush them off if you find any. Ticks usually do not bite as soon as they have latched on because they need some time to find the perfect place to start burrowing. When I am traveling with a partner or in a group, I always ask someone to take a look at your backside to detect the presence of ticks.
Use a repellent: Permethrin is an effective tick repellent that is trusted by the hikers of USA. It is actually an essential part of pre-trek preparation that you can do by spraying the compound on all of your clothing, shoes, gloves, headgear, etc. Remember to pay particular attention to ankle areas of garments, collars, arm straps, and other places that are likely to be overlooked. Also apply it to your backpack, sleeping bag, tent, arm straps, straps on trekking poles, dry bags, blankets, and other places prone to infestation.
Have a post-hike check: When the hike is complete, and you’ve reached the camping destination, it is better to check once again for ticks thoroughly as they may be hiding in unfamiliar places. I always take a shower after a hike and wash my clothes if the weather permits quick drying. Also, I strongly recommend you do not forget to check the inside of your backpack. Prevention is better than cure, and you’ll have a far more enjoyable experience when you have the proper precautions outdoors.
Tick Bite Remedies
Tick bites can cause serious itching of the skin, which may even lead to severe infections because of scratching. The most common mistake people make after noticing that tick is that they pull out only its body, leaving their mouth parts behind. This can lead to tularemia and Lyme’s disease, both of which can be dangerous. To properly treat the itch caused by the bites, you can do it by following some of the things that I’ve done over the years:
- Instead of scratching, apply some cold object to the burn like frozen vegetable packs or ice cubes. This will calm your skin and ease out the itching sensation.
- One of the best ways to treat tick bites in the wilderness is by applying aloe vera gel in the bitten area. Find an aloe vera plant, cut its leaf open, and use the gel gently to soothe the skin.
- I always carry a calamine base lotion or extract of Marie Gold when going outdoors not only because they are refreshing but also for their antiseptic properties.
- Herbal preparations containing lavender oil and peppermint can also help ease the inflammation.
- If you have any signs of fever or fear that you might have been infected, it is best to see a doctor and take antibiotics.
How To Remove A Tick From The Skin
First and foremost, I recommend you do not try to yank or twist the tick away from your skin. Tweezers are always a better option than using fingers as they will give you a proper grip to completely pull it out, without leaving behind the tick’s head or other body parts under the skin. If some parts to remain inside of the skin, pinch it up and scrape the remaining body parts away. Use a sterilized needle to dig for any remains and treat the area with an antiseptic or alcohol-based wipe to prevent any infections. If you do this correctly, there would be no reason to worry at all.