By Kara Dougherty, DNP FNP-C
Nurse Practitioner, DirectConnect
Summer is the season to invite family and friends to join you for outdoor fun such as hiking, biking, gardening, boating, and camping.
However, it's also the prime time for uninvited guests -- like ticks -- to tag along for the ride.
To hinder these pesky critters from crashing your party, follow these suggested preventive measures while enjoying the great outdoors:
- Wear light-colored protective clothing, such as long-sleeved shirts, long pants, socks, boots, hats, gloves
- Apply 0.5% permethrin spray to outerwear
- Apply repellent containing at least 20 percent DEET to exposed skin
- Shower soon after being outdoors
- Check for ticks daily, paying close attention under the arms, behind the knees, between the legs, around the waist, in and around the ears, inside the belly button, and the hairline/scalp area.
Should you find an attached tick, prompt removal is advised by using fine-tipped tweezers.
Simply grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible, and pull upward with steady, even pressure. After removal, thoroughly clean the bite area with soap and water, rubbing alcohol, or an iodine scrub.
Most tick bites are harmless and produce a mild, localized reaction that will subside without intervention. However, if you are uncertain about your symptoms and would like to be evaluated by a healthcare professional, you can conveniently access care by requesting a provider visit through DirectConnect.