It's tick season - staying safe after a walk in the woods

·2 min read

With hiking now one of the most popular pastimes due to people just wanting to get outdoors during this pandemic, there are some precautions you need to take if you are spending time in wooded areas.

It’s tick season, and that means a hike down a trail could land you a hitchhiker if you’re not careful.

The season runs from May until September. Ticks are found in forests, wooded areas, shrubs, bushes, leaf piles and tall grass.

They are tiny and can latch onto your clothing or hair and you might not even realize they are there.

It’s important to do a full body check when you get home after a walk in the woods to make sure you haven’t been bitten by one of these little pests.

When ticks bite, they burrow into your skin leaving only the body exposed.

You should examine your entire body after a walk in the woods. Look for unusual bumps or dark spots. If you find a tick, you can remove it using a pair of tweezers.

Be careful to remove the entire tick including the head that is buried in your skin.

If you have taken your dog on a walk in the woods with you, check your pet as well as animals are also susceptible to bites.

Ticks can pass on diseases to humans – most notably Lyme Disease, which can cause life-long problems.

It usually takes around 36 hours for the Lyme Disease bacteria to be transferred to a human, so removing the tick as soon as possible will greatly reduce your chances of getting the disease.

The most common early symptom of in infection is a “bullseye” shaped rash around the infected area.

It is important to seek medical attention if this happens as the earlier it is treated the more likely a better outcome.

A person with later stage Lyme Disease may experience a chronic condition.

There are a few ways you can avoid tick bites this summer.

First of all, avoid areas where ticks may be found.

However, that may be hard to do if you are determined to get some exercise and hike the trails, so if you do go out, it is important to wear the proper clothing so you are covered and give the ticks a lesser chance of leaping onto to you and exposed arms or legs.

There are also chemical deterrents and repellents like permethrin than can be sprayed on tents and clothing that will irritate or kill ticks within a few seconds.

With more and more people heading out to the trails and woodlands, it’s important to protect yourself while you are enjoying nature.

Brian Lockhart, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, New Tecumseth Times