Summer camp can be one of the most memorable experiences for kids. It’s often the first taste of independence, fun from sunrise to sundown, and making lasting memories. A sure-fire way to make summer camp a negative experience for a child is if they get a tick bite that leads to Lyme disease or other tick-borne illness.
For parents, it might be the first time your child is away from your supervision. Away from you saying ‘no’ to Fruit Loops for breakfast. Away from you applying sunscreen. And away from you applying tick repellent and doing a nightly tick check. Don’t panic. While these tips won’t help with the Fruit Loops, these 3 simple tips are easy to go over with your camper before they take off for a few weeks of fun.
Tip 1: Dress the Part
Wear clothing that keeps ticks off your skin and makes them easier to spot, including:
- Long sleeved shirt
- Long pants
- Socks, with pants tucked in
- Closed-toe shoes
- For long hair, tuck it under a hat
- Click here for GLA’s complete Be Tick AWARE tick bite prevention guide
Tip 2: Wear Repellent
Use both on-skin and on-clothing tick repellent to ask as double protection.
- In choosing a repellent, check for EPA-approval, toxicity, coverage time, and side effects. Click here for GLA’s Tick Repellent Roundup.
- Preferred ingredients for on-skin repellent: picaridin 20%, DEET, or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus
- Preferred ingredients for on-clothing repellent: permethrin. You can purchase clothing pre-treated or treat yourself.
Tip 3: Check for Ticks!
Check for ticks every day. Look everywhere, they love to hide! And remember, a nymph tick is about the size of a poppy seed; and adult tick about the size of a sesame seed.
- On scalp, in hard and behind ears
- Under arms and between fingers
- On waist, back, belly button, and groin area
- Behind keens and between toes
Before your kids head off for fun, go through these tips with them and show them how to apply repellent properly and perform their own tick checks.
Additional tools and resources:
- Certified Camps: Is your child’s camp taking precautions against ticks? Click here to see list of GLA partner Ivy Oaks Analytics certified camps.
- Check 4 Ticks poster: click here
- Be Tick AWARE poster: click here
- Tick Repellent Roundup: click here
- Tick Table: click here
- How to Remove a Tick: click here