By: Blonde Two
We are all loving the warm weather but we humans aren’t the only ones getting out in the sunshine. Blonde One and I spotted an active tick on Dartmoor back in February and similar tick reports have been coming in from Scotland. Ticks can cause all kinds of health issues and should be dealt with appropriately should they become attached to either us or our pets but can we walkers and other outdoor enthusiasts avoid ticks altogether (whilst still getting our regular doses of Get Outside)? For this week’s Tuesday’s Ten we have a Blonde look at possible ways to avoid ticks.
Be tick aware
As with so much in the outdoors, preparedness can help you avoid a lot of problems. By being aware of the issues of ticks and checking for them after your walk, you can go a long way towards avoiding issues.
Avoid long vegetation
This might sound like a comment on bikini lines but it isn’t. After drinking blood, a tick’s second favourite activity is hanging around at the tops of long plants (particularly grass or bracken) and waiting for victims.
Cover your skin
We know, there are those of you out there who love nothing better than getting your knees out for us to admire but, come the summer months, leaving skin exposed can be an open invitation to ticks.
Tuck your trousers in
Usually a complete and utter fashion failure, we predict that 2019’s on-trend walker will be wearing crutch-length socks… with their walking trouser tucked inside them. One the other hand (or leg) they could just do the sensible thing and wear gaiters.
Spray clothing with insect repellent
This is a topic for at least five blog posts. Some people swear by DEET, others love less stinky solutions. Blonde One and I always carry Smidge with us in the sunnier months but, if the Exmoor horseflies are feeling hungry, I do get a bit DEET happy. One word of warning here, some insect repellents can damage fabrics, particularly waterproof ones.
Wear clothing with built in insect repellent
I have a new top from Rohan that has been designed to do just this. Impregnated with long-lasting insect protection (protecting me, not the insects), the Trail Hooded Top looks great, is lightweight and wearable and is definitely coming with me on my Scottish venture in May. With thumb holes and a hood for greater coverage, I am looking forward to seeing the ticks beat a hasty retreat once the reach my midriff!
Go for lighter colour fabrics
To my mind there is no sense in wearing light-coloured trousers when out in the mud (plus they can double the size of a bottom) but they do have one distinct advantage when it comes to ticks. Ticks are dark and show up better against a light background. Spot the little whatsits marching up your trousers and you have a chance of dealing with them before they gain access to your ‘dark places’.
Carry tick removal kit
Neither a tick card nor a tick remover weigh very much so buy one and keep it in your first aid kit (of course you carry a first aid kit) for those times when the insect repellent, the long socks and the light trousers (my you look gorgeous today) haven’t worked.
Ticks might start off on the outside of your clothing but they like find a bit of skin in as dark and folded areas as possible. You can ask Six Foot Blonde about that if you ever meet him. On a Scotland canoeing trip, he once found ticks in multiples of ten in/on one of his most dark places!