The warmth of spring undeniably brings happiness and excitement; it means you can finally go outside without a billion layers and, even more excitingly, summer adventures are finally in site. The warmth of spring, however, also wakes up some nasty friends to partake in the fun: ticks.
Ticks typically like to hang out in tall grasses, shrubs and wooded areas. They commonly grab onto boots or pant legs and crawl their way up to warm blood sources. In general, having an insect burrow itself into your flesh for blood is not a pretty thought. A bite, however, isn’t even the worst part of it. Black-legged ticks, in particular, are carriers of a ruthless disease: Lyme Disease. This disease takes weeks up to years to recover from and can infect your central nervous system and cardiovascular system.
Thankfully, in Alberta, it is relatively uncommon to get bit by a black-legged tick. The risk, however, certainly isn’t worth it. (Especially if you’re exploring southern BC) 
Regardless, I say it’s best to avoid tick bites in the first place.
Thankfully, there are numerous ways to avoid getting bit by one (or some) of these blood suckers. That being said, they are sneaky and agile, so never forget to scan yourself (and your children or dog) after a day spent outside.
It is also a good idea to throw your clothes in a dryer and put it on high for at least 10 mins to kill any ticks that may be hiding in your clothes. Taking a shower or bath as soon as you can is also great help.
(Thanks to the Government of Canada for confirming these useful prevention methods!)
Essential oils have been proven effective against preventing tick bites. This is a win in my books because above being natural and free of chemicals, essential oils boast loads of other health benefits. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, rosemary, geranium, lemongrass, cedar and peppermint are all effective choices. In my opinion, however, Geranium oil is the best pick. Why?
Geranium oil is said to be gentle enough to apply directly to the skin. It is advised, however, to always use a carrier oil, especially if you have sensitive skin. [4b]
DIY Tick Repellent Ointment:
-> For adults, mix 12 drops of geranium oil with 2 tbsps of carrier oil
-> Apply to exposed and target areas (neck, wrists, ankles, etc)
Carrier Oil Choices:
Making a spray is handy to use as a repellent on clothes or on your body.
DIY Tick Repellent Spray:
Combine all ingredients. Shake before each use.
*This ratio of oils is safe for adults. For use on children, consult your practitioner*
First off, know that Gernium Oil is not safe to use on cats. It is, however, safe for use on dogs and be a very effective method to prevent bites and to avoid your dog bringing ticks back into your home [2b]. How should it be done?
(Some sources say it’s okay to apply undiluted oil directly, however, I stand by the notion that diluted is always safest and avoids irritation)
If you do find a tick, it is suggested that, using tweezers, you pull the tick straight out as close to the head as possible.
Do not twist the tick out. [1b]
Do not “burn” the tick out. (Holding a lighter close to a tick is a myth. In fact, this could cause the tick to dig deeper, or even spread more toxins).