Keeping Your Kids Safe from Ticks in the Bay Area
American Heart Association First-aid Classes
Ticks can cause many different diseases including Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Fear of these diseases does not have to keep you sequestered indoors all year though. By using protective measures and some common sense, you can enjoy the tall grasses and wooded areas on Mount Diablo and Mount Tam and still be safe. Do not let your fear cost you the fun family times outdoors.
Reducing Exposure Risks
The simplest way to keep kids safe from ticks is to avoid places where ticks tend to gather. The most common places to find ticks are in areas with tall grasses or lots of other foliage. Marshes are another area where ticks tend to congregate. Avoiding these areas is simple if you are a Bay Area city dweller, though if you live in a suburban area it may take a bit more work. Think about stores and other places you visit often and mentally assess the risk. If there is an open wooded area near where you visit, avoid it if possible. If you are out exploring, stay on marked paths and do not venture off if possible. In order to be prepared to treat for this type of emergency, the American Heart Association recommends signing up to take a first-aid course. The American Red Cross and The American Heart Association offer a first-aid certification course in Santa Clara County.
Use Protective Clothing when hiking in the Bay Area
If your plans for the day are to explore and get into some fun in more wooded areas, then avoiding where ticks go is impossible. Instead, make sure you and your children are wearing protective clothing, meaning long pants tucked into socks, sneakers, long sleeved shirts tucked into pants and hair pulled back and put under a hat. By wearing these types of clothing, you minimize the amount of skin available for a tick to attach. Another way to enhance the level of protection offered by your clothing is to spray permetherin on your clothing before wearing it. If you spend lots of time outdoors in the wilderness, it can be beneficial to purchase clothing treated with permetherin. This repellant should not be applied to the skin, only to clothing, and provides protection by repelling ticks and other insects.
Insect Repellants with DEET
DEET is an effective insect and tick repellant. It is important to make sure you follow directions when applying any insect repellant so take the time to read the label closely. When using insect repellants with DEET on children, make sure the product contains no more than 30 percent DEET, and reapply every two hours while out exploring.
Do Daily Skin Check
If you are out with your children enjoying the tall grasses and fun wilderness preserves that the Bay Area provides, always finish your day with a skin check. This skin check is essential as a last line of defense against ticks. Skin checks should cover all areas of the skin from head to toe. You should even check your child’s scalp, in and around their ears, areas near their groin and between their toes.
By using appropriate clothing, common sense and some insect repellant, you can still enjoy the wilderness and have fun with your kids outdoors. You can even make the nightly skin check a game and tickle each limb as you check it. Keep playing outside and doing so safely. If you live or work in the Bay Area, it may be a good idea to take a first-aid certification class. The Bay Area American Heart Association provides these first-aid training courses.