How To Protect Against Tick Bites

I have spent the past 4 years camping in every possible terrain except deep snow.

Most of the time, in areas with heavy tick infestations. Yet I have managed to avoid getting any ticks.

Here are my favorite tips for preventing ticks.

Tip 1 - Permethrin Treated Clothing

Wear clothing pretreated with permethrin. I have had good luck with Gamehide Elimitick pants.

I’ve worn these for 3 years, including survival school, Big Bend National Park, the swamps of Florida, and through forests of east Texas.

I have never had a tick. This includes cowboy camping - aka camping without a tent.

You can also buy permethrin spray and treat your clothing. The treatment will last for 6 washes.

Or you can send the clothing to a company like Insect Shield, which will apply a more potent treatment.

You can also spray your gear with permethrin. I like to spray my ground cover and my shoes or boots.

You must be careful when spraying this chemical around cats because it can make them sick, but it is not harmful when dry. But always follow manufacturer instructions.

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Tip 2 - Wear Long Pants And Longsleeve Shirts

I also always wear long pants and long sleeves in the outdoors. I go outside in the heat of Texas. But I wear thin shirts and pants. I typically wear a base layer of an athletic t-shirt like an Under Armor with a long-sleeved fishing shirt.

My Gamehide pants are very thin.

Another benefit of wearing long sleeves and long pants is minimizing the need for sunscreen.

I once got a sunburn standing in my backyard for 30 minutes, and I’ve not worn sunscreen while camping in many years.

Yet, I have not had a sunburn in the past 3 years either.

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Tip 3 - Wear Insect Repellent

Permethrin is an insecticide so that it kills insects that come in contact with treated clothing and gear.

It does not repel insects. While I have never had any problems with ticks when wearing permethrin-treated clothing, I have been attacked by no-see-ums.

I came home from my trip to Cumberland Island with my hands looking like I had chickenpox.

There are 3 common types of insect repellent.

However, as a guide at REI told me, short-term DEET exposure is unlikely to harm you, but we know a tick bite can seriously harm you.

And it’s not just Lyme disease. My friend JT was walking in his backyard and got bit by a tick. A few months later, he was hospitalized with a rare blood disease.

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Bonus - Do A Nightly Tick Check

You should always do a tick check every night and once you get home. I don’t want to panic you, but I’ve known more people to be seriously injured by tick diseases than any other wildlife.

If you do need to remove a tick, watch this video from a tick expert at the University of Manitoba

But the essential tips from the expert: 1.Put tweezers as close to the skin as possible 1.Gently grab the tick 1.Pull slowly and consistently straight up

  1. Wash and disinfect the area of the bite.
  2. Monitor for any signs of infection.

My friend RO was bit by a tick on a camping trip to Caddo Lake State Park. He removed it, but it became infected and required a round of antibiotics.

If you enjoyed these tips, you should subscribe to the “Campfire Bulletin.” I share more tips on how to enjoy the outdoors every Thursday morning.

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