Strangers may be unfamiliar faces that we can learn to trust, but sometimes strangers are foreign for good reason. Follow these tips to ensure your family stays safe, healthy and happy.
Many of us rejoice when summer finally arrives. Unfortunately, we’re not the only ones. Ticks, who are responsible for roughly 300,000 cases of Lyme disease in the U.S. each year, are especially active during the summer.
How can I prevent Lyme disease?
Be on alert in shady areas with tall grass or with plenty of brush, gardens and walls made of stone. If, however, you’re an avid hiker or gardener, or simply like the outdoors, here are some tick prevention tips for you:
- Wear special clothing and shoes that have been treated with permethrin, an insecticide that kills ticks. Normal bug spray isn’t effective.
- Make it difficult for a tick to weasel up from your shoes or other areas by wearing long-sleeves and long pants if possible, as well as tucking in your shirt and tucking your pants into your socks.
- Pull your hair back.
- When hiking, stick to established trails rather than blazing your own through the brush.
- Wear light-colored clothing that makes the black ticks easier to spot.
- Always check for ticks. You or your children may easily pick up ticks from your own backyard.
How do I remove a tick?
Removing a tick within the first 36 hours is key for reducing the risk of Lyme Disease. Use tweezers to grasp the tick, gently remove it and wash the area with disinfectant. If you develop a rash or flu-like symptoms after discovering the tick, go to the doctor immediately!
Great story or not, encountering a bear is typically the sort of excitement most prefer to see from the other side of a fence. Here’s what you need to do if you encounter a bear in the open.
What You Should Know
- Bears are attracted to food and items with strong smells, such as toothpaste, bug repellant and soap.
- Bears can run close to 30 miles an hour.
- Bears often pretend to charge when they feel threatened or want to steal food.
- A bear standing on its hind feet doesn’t signal an attack—it’s usually a signal of curiosity and a means of getting a better look or smell.
- Bears are naturally wary of people.
Prevention: Hide your Food
When camping, don’t cook or store food in or near your tent. Instead, hang all food from a tree ten feet above the ground in a hard-to-reach area. Use bear-proof containers if this isn’t possible. Change your clothes before you go to sleep so the smell of food doesn’t linger.
If You Encounter a Bear
Make them aware of your presence by clapping your hands, singing or talking loudly, and making yourself look as large as possible by waving your arms above your head. As hard as it is, project calm (without looking the bear in the eye) and don’t run!
Instead, slowly back away, always leaving the bear with an escape route. If the bear does attack then fight back! Use any means at your disposal, aiming for the face.
With children spending more time outdoors, stranger safety, a topic always on parents’ radar, gains even more importance. Many experts are recommending replacing the vague term stranger safety with words that are more relatable to your child, such as “Don’t Knows” (strangers), “Kinda Knows” (supermarket clerk or your boss), and “Safe Side Adults” (teacher or close friends).
What to Discuss with your Child:
- • Your child should know his full name as well as at least one parent’s cell phone number and full name.
- • Have a separation plan. Children can’t always recognize a store clerk, security guard or police officer. Teach them that the best person to approach for help is a mother with children.
- • Tell them when manners can go out the window. Teach them that adults never ask children they don’t know for help. If this happens, they should ignore them and run to a trusted adult. They should know that if a stranger tries to take them, they should always run away—they won’t win a fight—and should yell, “This isn’t my mom,” or “This isn’t my dad!”
- • Discuss which people are in their safe circle, meaning who can pick them up or take them somewhere. A small child can’t remember too many names—but they can remember that their parents, grandparents and aunt are always allowed to pick them up from day camp. If someone is outside of that safe circle, they should always ask before leaving with them, even if that person is in the “Kinda Know“ category.