Avoiding Tick Bites on the Trail *
As the grasses are growing taller and leaf litter piles up, it's a good idea to keep a look out for ticks. While ticks may seem like just a nuisance, they can also carry bacteria that may cause Lyme disease. It is true that in California Lyme disease is less common than in the Eastern United States because we get a little help from our fence lizard friends, but it is still important to be aware of these pesky ticks and avoid bites.
Covering up with long sleeves and pants can prevent ticks from latching onto you or at least getting to your skin. It is especially helpful to tuck your pants into your socks and your shirt into your pants when hiking to avoid them getting in near your ankles and waistline.
Nymphal ticks are about the size of a poppy seed, so if you wear lighter-colored clothing like light socks and lighter-colored pants, you're going to have an easier time identifying any that have latched on.
Stay in the sun
Ticks rapidly lose moisture through their exoskeleton; as a result they can not survive in sunny environments for long periods of time. To avoid ticks stay in sunny areas, avoiding shady spots and leaf piles.
Be vigilant at home
Check for ticks after spending time in the outdoors - check yourself and your pets. Shower and put the clothes you wore directly into the wash.
If bitten, remove the tick properly & monitor yourself
If after taking the above precautions you do get bitten, remove the tick as soon as possible with tweezers (within 24 hours is best to lessen the chance of contracting Lyme disease). See the instructional video above for the "how to". It's important to visit a doctor if flu-like symptoms or a rash appear, and to bring the tick in for testing.
* FOMRRT thanks the Friends of Sausal Creek for providing this information.
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