How To Check For Ticks & Where To Find Them
April 14, 2021
Spring is the best time of the year for getting outside and enjoying nature. It’s not too hot or humid and the afternoons usually get warm enough to spend time outside with family and friends biking, hiking, walking, running, or just hanging out at the park. No matter how great the weather or how much fun you have, you need to take precautions since spring marks the beginning of tick season here in New England.
After each of these excursions, you should take the time to check each of your family members (and yourself) for potential hitchhikers who may have latched onto your clothes, pets, or even your skin. Read on to find out what you should be looking for and where ticks like to hide.
Where Ticks Like to Bite
Let’s start with places on the human body that ticks find appealing. Keep in mind that there are several high risk areas for ticks. These include the moist and shady areas in nature, such as under leaves, in high grasses, and on bushes. They also require blood for food and the human body makes for a great host.
It makes sense that they would like similar places on the human body to feed that they find in nature: warm, moist, and dark areas. Once a tick has made it past your clothing to your skin, they will migrate to the warm, moist and dark areas of your body. This could include the groin, armpits, behind the knees, along the hairline, and along folds in the skin on the abdomen. While they are mostly looking for a meal, they also want the comforts of home.
What To Look For When Checking For Ticks
Many who enjoy nature claim to check for ticks when they get home, but others are not exactly sure what they are looking for. Here are some quick tips to help you do a thorough search after being outdoors, even if it’s just in your backyard.
Step 1 – Do a Once Over
When you get home take a few minutes to look at your skin. Is there anything moving, crawling, or anything that looks out-of-place? Start at your head and neckline and move down. It might be best to do this with a partner.
Step 2 – Do A Detailed Review
Check “hotspots” that we mentioned above. Feel for a small bump or something that could be moved, even if slightly. The smallest deer ticks can be felt with the fingers so go over your skin very carefully. You may not see it but you could possibly feel it.
Step 3 – Remove Clothing & Shower
Remove the clothes that you wore outside. Wash and dry them in hot water. Then, we suggest taking a shower and washing down your skin. This could loosen or make you aware of a bump on your skin that you didn’t catch earlier.
Step 4 – Check Your Pets
The last thing you will want to do is to check your pets for any hitchhikers that could make their way to your bed, couch, or chairs and eventually latch on to you.
If you should find a tick follow the National Forest guidelines for removal and treatment after you have found a tick.