Experiences, anecdotes, tips, how-tos, hiking, nature, motherhood, memories.

Adventures in Camping with Kids

Camping with kids is like pitching a tent upside down. Both are bound to fill with laughter and raindrops.

--Victoria Marie

Monday, May 1, 2017

Beware of Ticks When Hiking or Camping

Two tools of tick prevention: 
long socks and tape lint rollers.
Find tick identification photos at the web links in post.
Oh, breathe in that fresh spring air! It makes families want to take a walk in the woods or parks or even try a weekend camping trip.

            But if you do, you need to become tick savvy. Tick season, or when ticks trouble humans the most, is in late spring and summer.

Now don’t get all upset and lock you children in closets or anything. You just need to be aware of them, and of course, learn a few tips and methods for getting rid of them if you or your children or your pet does encounter any.

*Please note! I am no expert. I am only relaying my experience and some tips I’ve learned along the way.*

First thing is to dress appropriately for ticks and any other insects that live in tall grass or forests. Wear big, floppy-brimmed hats and long-sleeved, light-colored shirts and long pants if possible to be able to actually see the ticks on the clothing. Long socks are preferred, and it’s best to wear them OVER your pant legs if you are in a high tick area. It’s a good idea to bind up long hair and shove it under a hat. I always braid my four girls’ hair when we go hiking at national or state parks.

You can spray insect repellent with DEET on skin or clothing to help keep ticks away. Please read any caution on the container and be careful about using any insect repellent on small children’s skin. [Sorry, I was in mother mode.]

            Remember that ticks can adhere to anywhere. Be wary when brushing up against tall grass, bushes, shrubs, or trees. One of my twins had a tick on her earlobe. Luckily it was one of the bigger types, and I could see it to pull it off. [See below.]
Once you finish hiking the trail [or playing outside where there is a high tick concentration], before you enter your vehicle or camper or home, use a lint roller, the type with sticky tape, to check for ticks on clothing or body before they attach to the skin. This is the best tip I’ve learned. Now we carry lint rollers in the van as well as the camper. If the ticks haven’t attached to the skin, they will stick to the tape.

However, depending on length of time outside in tick area, it is always a good idea to closely check the body for ticks. I realize most of them are tiny, and it’s tough when someone has lots of freckles. What you are looking for is any “loose” freckle with tiny legs.

I scan my children closely with my eyes and hands after every hike. If I feel a tiny bump or something that flops back and forth, I look more closely. If it has tiny legs, use tweezers—vital in any first aid kit—to grab the tick as close to the skin as possible. The mouth is what is attached to the skin. DO NOT SQUEEZE THE TICK. You want to pull the entire tick out. The key is to pull gently away from the point of entry. Not up but parallel along the skin.

You will find a "Geographic Distribution of Ticks that Bite Humans" map as well as excellent tick identification and prevention information at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. 

This post is only meant to make you aware of tick season. Please don’t be afraid to take your children camping or hiking in the mountains or woods. The benefits of nature and fresh air for the family far outweigh any problem with ticks. Just become tick savvy and enjoy the great outdoors. As always, any questions about personal health ask your own physician.

            Thanks for stopping by Camping with Kids and leaving a note. It’s greatly appreciated.