Ticks cause a lot of disease and discomfort but there are a lot of things you can do to prevent them that cost little or nothing. The best tick repellents (natural and chemical) are easy to get and should be a part of your preps.
Tick populations are very dependent on where you live.
Where I grew up in Washington State I remember there were very few ticks around I never remember getting them off of anything at all. Here in western NC we have a ton of them with some years being worse than others. There are a lot of things you can do to help out with ticks. I am going to talk about repellants and also prevention measures you can take.
Consider guinea fowl or backyard chickens
Just a small flock of chickens will eat a lot of ticks, spiders, and eat/kill baby snakes. Years when we have not had any chickens we notice more ticks and moreBlack Widow Spiders than we would like. Using a movable chicken pen works too. You don’t just have to let them run amuck in your backyard.
Wash after exposure to environments like wooded areas or tall grass. Tick Twister Tick Remo... Buy New $1.13 (as of 11:05 EST - Details)
After being out in areas where ticks are likely, at the end of the day take a hot shower and use soap like Dr. Bronnors Peppermint Castille Soap. They really don’t like peppermint and I know for a fact that this soap helped prevent fleas and ticks and even make them fall off of dogs. A half gallon jug of Dr. Bronnors goes a long way.
Clothing for protection is one of the easiest ways to prevent ticks from coming into contact with your skin.
Ticks want to come in contact with skin and they can travel up your hair to your scalp. If you are out in the woods a lot then you might want to make sure to wear pants with drawstrings at the cuffs or wear them tucked into boots. Long sleeve shirts and a good hat can also help.
Those with long hair should consider putting it up. I suppose in a severe situation where it is hard to stay clean you may want to consider cutting hair shorter, bundling under a hat at all times.
Men with access to a method of shaving could consider ridding themselves of facial hair or make sure to use a comb and look closely each day for any ticks. I live in an area with a large population of bearded men but come tick season you see them lose some length!
Check yourself and look over your younger children daily during tick season.
If you live in an area with ticks, particularly if you are in a more rural environment, it pays to check you and young kids daily. Tell others to check themselves. Knowing that you have a tick embedded means removing it ASAP. The longer they stay attached the worse it is.
What To Do If A Tick Is Embedded
A tick that is embedded must be removed promptly. Tweezers or special tick removal wands/tools all work. Grasp the tick behind the head by the body and pull out. Make sure to not aim too low and leave part of the tick in your skin because it increases the risk of infection and other complications. if you do this then make sure to soak in a hot salty solution on a rag. Epsom salts would work well in this case. If you can remove more then do so and then put some antibiotic ointment on it.
Lyme Disease or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
Sawyer Products SP564 ... Buy New $7.99 (as of 09:20 EST - Details) You need to be aware of the potential for Lyme Disease or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. This is a terrible disease to get and it can cause lifelong health issues. Write down the date you found the tick embedded and watch for any symptoms over the course of 2 weeks. After that, you are probably ok. There are a lot of people that find ticks on them that never have any ill effects. It is just important to know your situation so you can get help ASAP if needed. The sooner something like this is treated the better.
If someone bitten by a tick starts feeling ill or becomes weak then get them checked out by a doctor. Make sure that you inform the doctor of your concerns. Since Lyme Disease and tick-related major illness is so rare some doctors don’t even think to look into it. The symptoms can be similar to a lot of other illnesses. I know of a case where an 8-year-old girl got sick and died because the doctor simply never thought to check for tick-related illness.
Use flea and tick treatment on dogs and cats and make sure their sleeping and living areas are clean.
Frontline is what I use on our farm dogs and cats normally but I have heard some complain that some fleas are becoming more resistant to it. For us, it still seems to work. Regardless you should use something. There are some natural solutions if you don’t want to use chemicals on them. Ecosmart insect repellant works as long as you take care to not spray eyes.
If you have dog and cat beds then they should be something that you can wash easily. If a dog bed has an encasement around it then you should only need to wash the slipcover. You can make a good dog bed out of a toddler mattress and use sheets sized for it. This is actually cheaper than a lot of dog beds, especially if you find a good used mattress.
Stay On Top Of Tick Prevention
It is easy to let things go and forget to take preventive measures during the offseason. Ticks begin showing up at different times depending on your region and it can also vary a bit by year. Some years the conditions for ticks are better than others. Starting with prevention before they take hold for the year in your area is best if you can manage it. At the very least you want to start taking measures the minute you see any signs of ticks.