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Tick Prevention for Spring: Hiking, Sports, and Backyard Fun


With the warmer Spring weather, people will be doing things they enjoy, like hiking, sports, and relaxing in the backyard. However, spring also marks the beginning of tick season, making tick prevention crucial to avoid tick-borne diseases such as Lyme disease. Here’s your comprehensive guide on how to protect yourself from ticks while enjoying the great outdoors.

Understanding Tick Behavior

Ticks are more active during the warmer months, especially in wooded and grassy areas. These parasites are looking for hosts ranging from small rodents to humans. Understanding that ticks can’t jump or fly but instead rely on brushing against their host, you can take proactive measures to protect yourself.

Effective Tick Prevention Strategies

For Hiking

  1. Stick to the Center of Trails: Avoid brushing against vegetation as ticks often wait in tall grasses and bushes.
  2. Wear Protective Clothing: Long sleeves and long pants tucked into your socks can create a physical barrier against ticks.
  3. Use Tick Repellents: Products containing 0.5% permethrin can be applied to clothes (not skin) to effectively repel ticks. For skin, use repellents containing DEET, picaridin, or IR3535.

For Sports

  1. Dress Smart: Opt for clothing treated with permethrin. Light-colored clothes make it easier to spot ticks. Long sleeves and pants offer some additional barrier too.
  2. Perform Regular Checks: During breaks, and after you’re done, check your clothes and any exposed skin for ticks.
  3. Stay in Cleared Areas: Whenever possible, set up sports activities away from tall grasses and brushy areas.

In the Backyard

  1. Maintain Your Lawn: Keep grass cut short and trim bushes and trees to reduce tick habitats.
  2. Create a Barrier: Use wood chips or gravel to create a barrier between wooded areas and your lawn.
  3. Treat Your Yard: Consider environmentally safe pesticides to treat your yard, especially if you live in high-risk tick areas.

After Outdoor Activities

  • Check for Ticks: Inspect your body for ticks after being outdoors. Pay special attention to underarms, in and around ears, inside the belly button, behind knees, between legs, around the waist, and especially in hair.
  • Shower Soon After Being Outdoors: Showering within two hours of coming indoors has been shown to reduce your risk of getting Lyme disease and may help wash off unattached ticks.

Removing a Tick

If you find a tick already attached in your skin, don’t panic. Use a tick removing tool, or in a pinch, fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible. Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Make sure you’ve removed the entire tick, including the tiny head, to prevent infection. After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water. If you’re in an area with increased risk of Lyme disease, the bite becomes infected, or you develop a rash, seek professional medical advice.


Spring is a season to cherish the great outdoors, but it’s also the time to be most vigilant about tick prevention. By taking these precautions, you can enjoy hiking, sports, and leisure in your backyard without the worry of ticks. Stay safe and make the most of the beautiful spring weather!

Posted on April 15, 2024

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