Whether you’re camping, hiking, or just playing near woods this summer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says tick bites should be top of mind.
Ticks live in moist and humid environments, particularly wooded and grassy areas—some of the same places where you may be enjoying summer.
"They get themselves in a position, and they will climb up the nearest object," says Bobbi Pritt, M.D., a Mayo Clinic parasitic diseases expert.
It’s called questing.
"The tick sticks out its legs, and that allows it to grab on to hosts as they walk by," Dr. Pritt adds.
You can lessen the chances you’ll become a host.
"Using insect repellents is a good idea," Dr. Pritt explains, suggesting permethrin for your clothing and gear. "You can really saturate your gear. Leave it out to dry. And, then, the next day, wear them."
Use permethrin on materials and DEET on skin.
"Spray the DEET repellent on exposed skin, including your legs and hands," Dr. Pritt says while demonstrating the product. "Avoid your face but be sure to protect your neck."
Then, tuck you pants into your socks. And, on your hike, remember to avoid areas where those questing ticks may be perched.
"That's why you want to stay away from the tall grasses," Dr. Pritt adds. "Stay in the middle of the trail."
A tick bite can result in mild symptoms that are treatable at home to severe infections requiring hospitalization.