It’s that time of year again, but simple steps can help prevent Maine’s tiny scourges from getting under your skin.
Text by Ben’s
In Maine, we love our woods and wild coastline, but we sure could do without the ticks. Instances of tick-borne illnesses have climbed steeply here in the last decade, and the Pine Tree State leads the nation in incidences of Lyme disease. Thankfully, outdoor-loving Mainers know that a few simple precautions can substantially reduce our exposure — and save our summers.
DRESS RIGHT. Wear light-colored clothing outside in order to see ticks more easily. If you’re heading into the woods, wear long sleeves and pants and tuck pant legs into socks. Don’t wear open-toed shoes or sandals in tick habitat.
WATCH YOUR STEP. Ticks tend to like shaded, moist areas in brushy patches of woods, along with high grass and leaf litter. Avoid such spots. If you’re walking in the woods, stay to the center of the trail to minimize brushing up against vegetation.
STRIP DOWN. When you come indoors after spending time outside, toss your clothes in the dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill any ticks on your clothing.
REDUCE HABITAT. Make your backyard and the landscape around your house less habitable for ticks. Remove leaf litter and brush and keep your lawn mowed to 3 inches or less.
GET THE RIGHT STUFF. There are so many insect repellents, it can be hard to determine what product can best protect you and your family. Ben’s Tick Repellent, with 20 percent picaridin, is proven to repel ticks for up to 12 hours (and mosquitoes too!). Picaridin (pronounced pih-CARE-a-den) is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control. Unlike other repellents, which can melt plastic and other synthetic materials, Ben’s Tick Repellent is safe to use on gear and clothing.
CHECK DAILY. Check regularly for ticks on your body, your kids’ bodies, and your pets. Take a shower within two hours of coming inside to wash off any unattached ticks. As you towel off, do a thorough tick check in front of a tall mirror and in good light. Ticks love warm, dark places, so pay extra attention to your belly button, any folds of skin, and the areas between your toes, behind your ears, behind your knees, and under your arms. Have a family member check your scalp and any other spots you can’t see yourself.
Available on Amazon. Visit Bens30.com to learn more.