Enjoy the warm weather and nature, but make sure to protect yourself against bites from fleas and ticks.
Keep Fleas Off Your Lawn
By making your backyard inhospitable to fleas and ticks, you can prevent them from biting your pet and yourself, and from migrating inside your home. Fleas and ticks both like warm weather, but do not do well in direct sunlight, so keeping grass well-trimmed is a smart way to prevent fleas and ticks from making your backyard their home.
Be Cautious & Dress Right
Going for a hike or walking through deep grass? If your walk will take you to an area where fleas and ticks are likely, dress appropriately:
- Wear light-colored clothing so that bugs will be visible.
- If possible, wear pants and long-sleeved shirts.
- Do not wear sandals or open-toed shoes.
- Pull your socks up to avoid any skin being exposed.
- While outside, walk in the middle of trails avoiding piles of leaves or other organic matter.
As a further preventative measure, you can also use chemical repellents--look for ones that have DEET or pemethrin as an active ingredient. These repellents can come in the form of wipes, sprays, and lotions. DEET can be used directly on skin or on clothing; pemethrin, in contrast, can only be used on clothing, and should not have direct contact with your skin. Apply repellents thoroughly, but do not get them near your eyes, nose, or mouth. Be particularly mindful when applying repellents to children; avoid getting sprays and lotions on kids’ hands, since children could accidentally touch their eyes.
After being outside, check your body carefully for any signs of ticks. Taking a bath or shower within a couple of hours is a great idea, since it will reveal any bites or critters. Remember your knapsack and coat can carry bugs, so look them over for ticks as well.
Check Pets, Too
Ticks and fleas love to bite pets--check dogs after outside walks in the woods or grassy areas. Outdoor cats can also pick up insects. Flea and tick collars, or monthly treatments--either topical or oral medications--are a good, easy way to ward off the parasites.
If You Find a Bug
If your preventative measures do not pay off, and you find a pesky parasite on yourself or your pet after being outside, remove it immediately. Drown fleas in soapy water. Preserve ticks in a plastic container--this will help your doctor or veterinarian identify them if symptoms develop later on.
More Flea and Tick Control Advice
My Dog Still Has Fleas! What to Do When The Medicine Isn’t Working
What Does a Flea Bite Look Like?
Dog Hot Spots: What is Flea Allergy Dermatitis?