No matter how old you are, spending time outside in the woods can be a great way to connect with yourself and nature. What’s not to love about getting exercise AND enjoying breathtaking views at the same time?
Despite how great it is to unplug from the rest of the world and enjoy the great outdoors, hiking is not without its fair share of risks, as well. Thanks to biting bugs that have the potential to pass on nasty diseases, outdoor-lovers need to be skin-smart, especially when it comes to mosquitoes and ticks.
There’s no reason to let biting bugs ruin all your fun, though. Knowing how to protect yourself is super important, so we’re going to share our top tips for preventing mosquito bites and tick bites when you’re out in the woods with family, pets or friends.
Disclaimer: There will be bug encounters along the way. While it's impossible to avoid every single mosquito that haunts the woods (it is THEIR natural habitat after all), there are ways to lessen run-ins and measures to ensure less bites on the trail.
1. Wear Long Sleeved Clothing & Light Colours
Wear long sleeved clothing to cover your skin and help protect you from both mosquitoes and ticks. Mosquitoes can bite through tight weave, so a loose fit is a better option.
Try to choose light colours, too; mosquitoes are more attracted to dark colours like black and blue, so a lighter tone will make you harder for mosquitoes to see. Plus, light colours will make it easier for you to spot a tick that might have landed on you. Sometimes, it pays to be fashionable!
2. Forget About The Fashion Police
If you’re going for a walk or a hike, especially in the woods, tuck your pants into your socks. You won’t win any fashion points or outfit of the day nominations, but you will protect your skin in the event a tick latches onto your shoes and crawls up your pants.
Ditto for pesky mosquitoes looking for easy access to your ankles, arms and legs. The less options you give them, the higher the chance you'll walk away bite-free.
3. Don't Forget The Spray!
Another handy tip is to treat your clothes with permethrin, or purchase pre-treated clothing that you can use for outdoor adventures. Permethrin is a highly effective insect repellent that works for both ticks and mosquitoes, so when combined with other preventative measures, you should be all set.
4. Stick To The Trails
Ticks don’t fly like mosquitoes do, and they can’t jump, so the only way they’ll attach themselves to you is if you brush past something that a tick is waiting around on, at which point they usually crawl upwards.
If you’re out in the woods, stick to walking trails and don’t get too intimate with grassy or woody areas. Keep your pets on a leash if need be, and wait until you get to a more open area before letting them run amok.