School’s out and kids are headed off to camp. Parents across the country are packing travel bags filled with swim goggles, sunscreen and other summertime necessities for their children, but one of the most important things parents need to keep in mind as their young ones head off to summer camp is tick prevention.
The Tick-Borne Disease Alliance (TBDA) has compiled a list of the top five “must have” items in a Tick-Prevention Summer Camp Survival Kit that every parent should include in their child’s travel bags this summer.
Lyme disease is the fastest growing infectious disease and the most common tick-borne disease in the country, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Higher infection rates of tick-borne diseases occur in children ages 2–14, making these young campers the prime targets for ticks—and tick prevention.
The TBDA Tick-Prevention Summer Camp Survival Kit includes:
•Tick-repellent clothing. Brands such as Insect Shield, ExOfficio’s BugsAway or ElimiTick can be purchased from retailers like L.L. Bean and Eastern Mountain Sports, and are effective for up to 70 washes. Clothing-safe tick sprays such as those with permethrin, an insecticide that repels and kills ticks, are a great alternative to pre-treated clothing. Footwear, socks and sleeping bags should always be treated along with pants and shirts.
•Maximum coverage clothing. Children should bring along a pair of pre-treated, light-colored long pants, a long-sleeve shirt and a hat. A reduction in the amount of skin exposed means a reduction in the number of places a tick can attack.
•Insect repellent that is approved by the EPA should be included and many brands come in easy-to-carry travel sizes that are perfect to take on long adventures. DEET is a well-known repellent, but it’s not recommended for children. Parents may want to try a spray like Buzz Away Extreme, Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent or Avon Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus Expedition.
•Resealable bags. When returning from the outdoors, a child should place any untreated dirty clothes in a resealable bag until these clothes can be put in a dryer, which would kill any existing ticks. Sealing up the untreated dirty clothes will prevent any ticks that might be on these items from being transported to the child’s clean clothes, bedding and anywhere else.
•Lots of soap! Many ticks are so small that they can go unnoticed and showering immediately after spending time outside will help to spot and remove unattached ticks. Bath time is the perfect time for children to carefully inspect themselves for any unwanted hitchhikers.
The Tick-Borne Disease Alliance is dedicated to raising awareness, promoting advocacy and supporting initiatives to find a cure for tick-borne diseases, including Lyme. As part of its efforts, TBDA is embarking on a quest to develop a reliable diagnostic tool as a first step toward eradicating the diseases. Working with others in the tick-borne disease community nationwide, TBDA seeks to raise public awareness through education and create a unified voice for advocacy regarding the current epidemic in order to make a real difference.
More information about TBDA, Lyme and tick-borne diseases, and prevention and protection can be found at www.TBDAlliance.org.