Some people think I’m cracked when it comes to the preventive measures I take to avoid tick bites and getting Lyme Disease. But I still haven’t contracted Lyme Disease after 5000 miles of hiking, backpacking, and off-trail hiking through prime tick habit on the Appalachian Trail, in the northeastern United States, or in Scotland where herds of deer wander across the landscape. I think my tick countermeasures are pretty reasonable actually…
- Most of my hiking and backpacking clothing has been factory pre-treated with Insect Shield or soaked in Permethrin.
- I wear a long sleeved shirt and long pants when hiking and backpacking, even in summer.
- I soak my hammock and tent in Permethrin to kill ticks (see Permethrin Soak Guide)
- I spray the outside of sleeping bags and quilts with Permethrin also.
If you think I’m crazy, talk to trail crew, rangers, or scientists who spend their time in the Lyme infested areas where I do most of my hiking. They take the same pre-cautions that I do too.
Lyme Disease Prevention Tips
- Wear light-colored clothing so ticks are readily visible
- Wear a hat, long sleeves and pants
- Permethrin on clothing, sprayed according to manufacturer directions, on pants, socks, shirts, hats, coats. Spray must be totally dry before clothes are donned
- DEET products properly sprayed on exposed skin can be useful, but don’t rely on these alone
- Frequently inspect for ticks on yourself, your children, and your pets during outdoor activities and especially after undressing Groin, navel, armpits, waist, head and behind knees and ears are especially vulnerable
- Dry outdoor clothes at least 20-30 minutes in the dryer to kill any ticks attached to them.
- Avoid tall grass and dense vegetation; stay on cleared paths and trails whenever possible.
- Don’t encourage deer to feed in your yard.
- Talk to your veterinarian about tick protection products for your pets; pets can bring ticks into your yard and/or home
- If you have been in tick-infested areas and experience illness or rash, contact your doctor immediately.