Keeping Your Kids Safe from Ticks Without Taking away Their Fun
As a chronic Lyme patient and a mother of a young child, my worst nightmare is finding a tick on her. So in our household, which is something I suggest to all of you, we take prevention very seriously.
We have a small brook trickling through our side yard and it’s our daughter’s favorite place to play. I’m thrilled that she loves the outdoors, but the thought of her in the damp, wooded area with tall grass is terrifying.
We want her to have a normal childhood so continue to let her play in this area. Rather than giving into our fears and keeping her indoors all the time, we simply have made modifications to the landscape so that she can still play near the water but now in an environment that is inhospitable to ticks.
Here’s what we do to help keep her safe:
- Modify landscape. We pulled all the long weeds and grasses near the river, laid down weed paper and bought some 3/4 inch round stone to lay down near the brook.
- Treat the yard. We have our yard professionally treated three times per year for ticks.
- Clothing choices matter. We have her wear light colored clothing, tuck her pants into her socks and have her wear tall rain boots that we spray with a natural tick repellent.
- Hair suggestions. We pull her hair back or put a hat on her if she’ll stand for it.
- Frequent tick checks. We do a full body tick check every time we do a diaper change.
- Don’t carry ticks into your bedroom. When we come in for the day, we put her clothes (along with ours) in the washer and wash with hot water, or run in the dryer on high heat for at least 10 minutes.
- Brush hair and bathe. We brush her and and give her a bath before bed.
- One final tick check. And for piece of mind, we do one final tick check before bed.
I think the most important thing that we do for her and for ourselves, is to exist as if every tick is carrying the deadly Powassan virus. Even more common tick-borne illnesses, such as Rocky Mountain Spotted fever have the potential to kill you.
I know that’s not cheery to think about, but tick-borne illness is preventable and that’s the silver lining. So I think it is important to take all preventative measures to ensure that ticks never attach to you or your loved one.
If you do find a tick, don’t panic. Read our article about the steps you should take to ensure proper removal and followup care.
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