Summer will be here before we know it, and we’re already thinking about how we’re going to spend the longest days of the year. While many people canceled travel plans in 2020, this year things are different. There are three vaccine options for COVID-19, and many people are feeling safer and ready to travel.

If your summer travel plans include visiting the beach, you’re not alone. We love feeling the sand on our feet, and our kids love splashing in the waves and building sand castles.

Before heading to the beach, you need to make sure you play it safe. Obviously that involves things like wearing sunscreen and watching out for sharks and jellyfish. Yet, there’s another danger that might be hiding in the beach grass. Ticks.

Many beaches have sand dunes and beach grass that we walk through on our way to the coastline. It’s best to avoid walking through the beach grass. Stick to the paths instead. Poppyseed size ticks just might be hiding in the grass waiting to make the leap to you or your belongings.

A recent study that was published in the American Society for Microbiology journal found that there are ticks in coastal areas in California including ticks that are known to carry diseases like Lyme disease. In fact, the ticks found in coastal areas were slightly more likely to carry Lyme disease than ticks found in woodland areas.

Don’t let the thought of ticks scare you away from the beach. You’re highly unlikely to find ticks in open sandy areas. In order to protect yourself, avoid walking through beach grass, and if you do walk past grassy coastal areas, be sure to carefully check for ticks right away. Check again when you get home.

According to the CDC, it is especially important to check for ticks under your arms, in and around your ears, in and around your hair, behind your knees, inside your belly button, around your waist and between your legs. It’s also a good idea to take a shower within two hours of returning home, wash the clothes you were wearing in hot water and don’t forget to check your beach gear for ticks.

If you do find a tick, you’ll need a pair of fine-tipped tweezers to carefully remove the tick. Grasp the tick as close to your skin as possible and pull upwards in a steady, even motion without twisting or jerking the tick. Once the tick has been removed, clean the area with rubbing alcohol and or wash with soap and water.

As for the tick, you can drown it in alcohol, flush it down the toilet or put it in a sealed plastic bag wrapped tightly with tape in case the tick needs to be examined.

If you have been bitten by a tick, contact your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms: fever, fatigue, chills, headache, body aches, a rash around the bite that looks like a bullseye, or swollen lymph nodes.

Did you know that ticks could be found in coastal areas? Have you ever been bitten by a tick?