Ticks are out in the woods and tall grasses all year long on the Gulf Coast. A tick is a small bloodsucking parasitic arachnid that may transmit diseases, such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Lyme disease. Even if they do not carry disease, they can be tricky to remove. If you plan to be out in the woods for any length of time, make sure to spray or rub on a repellent. If you choose to use a product containing the oil pesticide, DEET, make sure you know the risks. Do not use while pregnant. It is safer and less expensive to try a simple homemade oil as a tick repellent.
Repellent For Body:
Just mix together the following ingredients and rub it on your skin. I don’t measure the amounts. You just need something oily with a strong scent and that should keep ticks away or make them fall off while you’re out hiking, camping or geocaching.
- Oil- a carrier oil like apricot or jojoba
- Aloe vera gel
- Essential oil essence- peppermint or citrus. These are not the scents from the grocery store that are mixed with alcohol. You’ll probably need to get the oils at your local natural health store.
Repellent For Head:
If you don’t want to put oil on your scalp, you can try mixing essential peppermint oil and water and spraying it in your hair. Some people recommend spraying on lemon water, but if you use it in the sun often enough, it may lighten your hair.
Using repellent on children is especially important. Many children love to walk through and roll around in tall grasses and that makes them more susceptible to ticks. Caution: Peppermint may cause a strong burning sensation in young children or people with sensitive skin. Test the mixture in a small area first. Always make sure to avoid the eye area. For children under three years old, consult a health care professional before applying any type of repellent.
If you still end up with a tick in your skin after using repellent, the best way to remove it is by grabbing it as close to your skin as possible with a pair of tweezers and pull straight out. Never twist or jerk when pulling. You don’t want to leave the head in your skin.
Go prepared and enjoy the great outdoors!