A 'Tick Explosion' Is Coming This Summer -- Here's How To Stay Safe

by Thea Glassman
Image via Nataba/Getty

Ticks are heading our way in droves, so thanks for nothing summer

Summer is *finally* here, and that’s a wonderful, wonderful thing. That also means that creepy, crawly creatures are heading our way pretty much right now, which is a terrible, terrible thing. There’s apparently about to be a “tick explosion” hitting the United States — and it’s just as disgusting as it sounds.

Here’s the deal. Dr. Thomas Mather, a tick expert, told WFXT that everyone should prepare themselves for the drove of ticks headed this way. “They’re up and looking for a host hoping something will walk by that they can latch on,” he said. Great. Jussssssst great. This is exactly the kind of news we all need to hear right now.

It’s worth knowing that ticks carry different kinds of diseases in different parts of the country. “The east coast here in the U.S., parts of the south and Midwest, and even in California you have the major [tick-borne] disease, which is Lyme disease,” José Ribeiro, M.D, told MedlinePlus. “People should be aware of ticks and where they can encounter them. In other parts of the country you have other diseases, like Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever in the Rocky Mountains, and so on.”

So, how do you make sure that these creatures stay far, far away from you and your family? Thankfully, there’s a few easy ways to prevent picking up any nasty diseases.

First off, you should wear clothing that covers as much skin as possible (I know, I know, that sounds like literally the least appealing option right now as the weather heats up, but worth the sweat). Maliha Ilias, Ph.D., told MedlinePlus that you should tuck your pants into your socks and wear light-colored clothing so you can quickly spot a tick on you.

If you have a backyard, you’re also going to want to invest in a good spray. Mike Powers, owner of Simply Safer Premium Lawn Care, told The Boston Globe that a mild pesticide should do the trick. “My son got Lyme when he was 6,” he explained. “The organic sprays do kill ticks, it’s just that they’re not foolproof. Putting one application of a mild insecticide out there is much safer than the risk of having to put your child through months of antibiotics.”

You’ll also need to spray yourself and your family, as well. The CDC recommends finding an insect repellent that contains DEET and picaridin (though don’t use on babies younger than 2 months old).

Lastly, tick checks, tick checks, tick checks. After a day outside, make sure you do a full body search and take a shower within two hours of going indoors.

I know this all sounds like a complete pain, but definitely better safe than sorry. Because you should be able to drink your mimosa and lounge on a chair in peace, damnit.