TOUCHED BY LYME: Overcoming the "dork factor" when it comes to tick protection
Does anybody really tuck their pants in their socks?
We’ve all read this advice hundreds of times. The official word for anyone venturing into tick habitat–from the CDC, our state health department, and even our own website, is “tuck your pants into your socks.”
The idea is to prevent ticks from getting access to your skin. But even though I’ve actually repeated this advice myself, it never rang true for me. It never seemed practical. And sometimes, not even possible. Your pants would have to be long enough, and your socks would have to be high enough, with extra room to accommodate movement.
And that’s not even taking into account the dork factor. I can visualize the eye-rolls this advice would engender from anybody over eight years old. So, that’s why I was pleasantly surprised to come across this item on a website for hiking gear–permethrin-treated gaiters.
As the accompanying photo shows, gaiters are protective clothing for your ankles. They cover the area from the tops of your shoes to the bottom part of your pants leg. Cross-country skiers and snowshoe enthusiasts use them to keep snow from getting inside their boots.
Permethrin is a powerful tick repellent. A company called Insect Shield has developed a line of clothing using fabric that has been infused with it–guaranteed to last through 70 washings. Among the items offered are permethrin-treated gaiters.
Permethrin has a good track record of repelling ticks. And using gaiters in this way provides important coverage of your ankles without becoming a disastrous fashion statement. Works for me.
Contact blogger Dorothy Kupcha Leland at firstname.lastname@example.org