Tick Researcher Dr. Thomas Mather On The Best Way To Avoid Tick Bites This Summer - Exclusive

For those of us who love outdoor activities like hiking, hunting, gardening, and exploring nature, summer is the best time of year. Unfortunately, it's also the best time of year for one type of arachnid that can cause quite a lot of trouble. Ticks are all over the woods, our gardens, and even our yards during the summer months, and they're always looking for a new host.

While most bug bites are simply annoying, tick bites can cause serious illnesses. Ticks carry germs that can cause Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Powassan, babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, and anaplasmosis. They can also carry allergens that can cause Alpha-gal syndrome, which causes an allergy to red meat.

Preventing tick bites from happening in the first place is crucial during the summer months. In an exclusive interview with Health Digest, tick expert Dr. Thomas Mather shared his best tips and tricks for avoiding tick bites this summer.

Know where ticks like to be and take precautions

Dr. Thomas Mather stressed that the first line of defense against tick bites is knowing where ticks like to dwell and either avoiding those places or taking measures to prevent ticks from gathering there.

"Blacklegged (aka deer ticks) usually are not out in the middle of your yard," Dr. Mather explained. "They thrive where yards border wooded areas, in ornamental plantings, and gardens where there are leaves and higher humidity. American dog ticks don't mind sunny areas or even a patio or deck. Lone Star Ticks tend to wander from shade to sun and back, especially when potential hosts are present."

When in the woods, Dr. Mather cautions against going off-trail. He warned that ticks often gather at the edge of the trail and hide under the foliage. Even a quick tromp off the path, perhaps to let another hiker pass you by, can increase your chances of being bitten – so stick to the middle of the trail as much as possible.

At home, there are several measures you can take to prevent ticks from getting into your yard and sticking around.

"By trimming shrubs and low branches, as well as raking and removing leaves, you can remove conditions that allow ticks to survive in your yard," Dr. Mather explained. "Also, adult ticks can be brought to your yard by deer ... Keep deer out by installing a deer fence, planting deer resistant plants, or by applying deer repellents."

Use wearable protection

When you are adventuring or hanging out in places where ticks thrive, Dr. Thomas Mather suggests using repellants to discourage ticks from climbing onto your body or biting your skin. His favorite method is actually making your clothes tick-repellant.

"Because of its long-lasting nature, I recommend wearing permethrin-treated clothing to help repel tick bites," he said. "When clothes are treated with permethrin, ticks may grab on, but after a few seconds of exposure, they generally fall off."

Avid outdoorsy folks can invest in specialty clothes that are treated with permethrin or send their favorite outdoor outfits to get professionally treated. Those who don't want to spend that kind of cash can buy permethrin spray and treat their outdoor gear at home. Unlike bug spray, permethrin is odorless, and it doesn't need to be frequently reapplied. It also ensures that ticks don't make it any further than your clothing. With some permethrin-treated clothes and some common sense preventative tactics, you can stay tick-bite-free all summer long.

Visit Equip-4-Ticks for expert tips, educational content, and a comprehensive video library with best practices for tick protection and disease prevention.