How to Protect Yourself From Ticks This Summer

Afraid of ticks? You should be.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals that tick-borne illnesses have doubled in the United States over the past 13 years. Then there’s the frightening news that a new-to-America tick species (the East Asian tick) has landed in New Jersey, which makes me never want to leave the house again. (I live in New Jersey.)

Of course, I can’t barricade myself indoors — it’s summertime, and I live by the beach — but I can employ preventive measures to protect myself from ticks as much as possible. Here’s how you can, too. (See also: 5 Things to Do Now to Prepare Your Home for Summer)

Reduce tick habitats in your yard

One of the best things you can do to control the tick population in your yard is to remove and control their habitats. Cut tall grass, trim foliage, and use a mulch barrier to prevent ticks from traveling into the yard. This won’t eliminate ticks altogether, but it will help reduce their presence.

It’s important, too, to know what types of ticks you’re dealing with. TickZapper has published this handy infographic guide that illustrates the most common ticks, where they’re found, what diseases the species transmits, and other characteristics. (See also: 6 Mosquito-Repellent Plants With a Dual Purpose)

Wear protective clothing when you’re in the woods

Long pants aren’t always comfortable during the summer, but tucking them into high socks when you’re in the woods or traveling through high vegetation is a good idea. It reduces ticks’ point of entry onto your skin, which, when in tall brush and weeds, is most likely from the waist down. It’s also easier to spot ticks on light-colored clothing, like khakis and white tees. And wearing a hat when out in the woods is ideal as well. (See also: The 5 Best Bug Repellents)

Consider deer-proofing your yard

Deer are a common carrier of ticks, and they can deliver them straight to your yard if you live in an area where deer are prevalent. While it may be charming to look out your window and watch deer grazing, it’s in your best interest to keep them and other wildlife out if you want to control the tick population. A traditional chain-link fence won’t suffice, as…

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