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10 Tips for Ticks and Poison Ivy at Camp

Summer camp is great. There are so many activities to participate in and most of them are outdoors. Unfortunately, there are hazards in the outdoors that many camps must deal with. Two of those are ticks and poison ivy. The following 10 tips come from Isaiah M. Ham. Isaiah is the CEO of Ivy Oaks Analytics, a startup company developed to reduce injuries and disease in summer camps. They focus on reducing tick populations, controlling poison ivy and removing or relocating stinging insect nests. Camps they service become certified as having advanced safety standards. Certified camps are listed on their website which allows parents, campers and staff to find camps that reduce these threats.

1. Walk in the center of trails and avoid wooded areas with tall grass and leaf litter. Ticks and poison ivy are common in these areas.  



2. Use repellents with 20-30% DEET on skin and clothing to repel ticks. Boots and clothes can also be treated with Permethrin which kills ticks. 


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3. Consider removing poison ivy plants in recreation areas to prevent exposure. 



4. Thoroughly wash exposed skin immediately after exposure to poison ivy is suspected. 


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5. Consider having tick populations professionally reduced. Organic options and host treatment reduction techniques exist. 



6. Conduct a full body check when returning from areas where ticks are present. Be sure to check regions with thin skin including under arms, head and hair area, the back of knees, inside belly button, and between legs.



7. Know how to properly remove ticks: 
  1. Using tweezers grab the tick securely at the mouth as close to the skin as possible. 
  2. Pull the tick straight outward with steady pressure. DO NOT twist or jerk the tick. 
  3. Do not touch the tick with your bare hands and apply rubbing alcohol or antiseptic to bite site. 
  4. Store the tick in a zippered bag with a moist cotton ball and consider submitting the tick for testing.


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8. Monitor individual and bite area of anyone bit by a tick. If a rash occurs or symptoms develop contact a physician immediately. Any delay in treatment for tick-borne diseases can have extreme implications. 



9. Post warning signs in areas where dense poison ivy is present if removal is not an option.


10. Know which campers are hypersensitive to poison ivy. Be sure to keep these campers out of tall grassy areas. 

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To contact Isaiah you can email him at [email protected].

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