Tick Bite Prevention on the Appalachian Trail


The closer northbound Appalachian Trail (AT) thru-hikers get to Maine's Mount Katahdin and the completion of their hikes, muscles are stronger and personal endurance has hit new heights.

Walk in the rain? Piece of cake.

Sleep in the rain? Piece of soggy cake.

Smell your own body odor? Beyond oblivious.

Threat of being bitten by infectious ticks? Worse than ever, unfortunately.

'Tis the season for ticks to hatch in New England, where millions of female ticks can lay 3,000 tiny eggs each.

big dang moose

Giant moose near Monson, Maine, not far from the 100-Mile Wilderness. ~~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland

[Math geeks will instantly realize the number of newborn ticks is almost as great as the number of professional athletes arrested annually in America.]

Wildlife authorities say moose are enticing targets for ticks. One moose can "host" up to 150,000 blood-sucking ticks, causing disease and death.

The AT runs through the moose-rich environment of Maine, where these 1,500-1,800 pound animals -- that look more like camels than deer -- munch and roam along roadsides.

Enter the 100-Mile-Wilderness and you're on their turf and maybe on their menu.

Tick Bite Prevention

The Lyme Disease Foundation, Inc., is a non-profit organization dedicated to finding solutions for tick-borne disorders. They offer plenty of information on how to prevent tick bites.

Ticks like to rest on low-lying brush in order to attach themselves to passing animals or people. Wooded areas, low-growing grassland and seashores present a high risk for tick infestation. Even in high-density areas there are to defend yourself against ticks.

To reduce your chance of getting a tick-bite:

  • Avoid tick infested areas, when possible. Avoid short-cuts through heavily wooded, tick-infested areas. Use caution when you are entering tick-infected areas. Stay in the center of paths, avoid sitting on the ground, and conduct frequent tick-checks.
  • Dress properly. Wear light-colored clothing. This allows you to more easily see ticks on your clothing and gives you the opportunity to remove them before they can attach to your skin and feed.
  • Wear a long-sleeved shirt and long pants. This reduces the skin area exposed to ticks. Also, tuck your shirt into your pants and pants into your socks. This keeps the ticks on the outside of your clothing and thwarts their efforts to crawl onto your skin. During warm or hot weather, this is not practical. So, increase your vigilance in conducting tick-checks.
  • Use EPA-approved tick repellents. During the summer months, it can be inconvenient to wear pants and long-sleeved clothing, so using repellents can help protect yourself from ticks. Wash off the repellents when you return inside, and children should always have an adult apply the repellent for them.
  • Conduct frequent tick-checks. This includes a visual inspection of the clothing and exposed skin, followed by a naked, full-body examination in a private location. Be sure to check the scalp, behind and in the ears, and behind any joints.
  • Remember to check your pets too! This is not only for your pets' safety but for your family's as well. Pets can bring ticks in from outside and put you and your family at risk for infection

Click Here for Lyme Tick Prevention Tips

Be cautious on the Trail, please.

Click Here for Music to Check Ticks By

Tags: Tourism, Appalachian Trail, Hiking, News, and Maine Appalachian Trail Club

About the Author Robert Sutherland:
Robert Sutherland is a travel writer enjoying life. Robert has two adult daughters and six grandchildren.
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