What You Need To Know To Protect Your Family & Pets…
As people and pets head outdoors this summer, their risk of becoming infected with tick-borne diseases rises. As you’ve probably heard in the news, there are new concerns about previously rare types of tick-borne diseases being seen more frequently. The Blacklegged Tick for example, not only spreads Lyme Disease, it can also transmit a virus called Powassan, that has already killed one man and made another extremely sick this year… this is serious!
Avoiding the outdoors all together this summer isn’t the answer, so here’s a list of what you need to know and do to protect yourself this year:
- Wear light-colored clothing with a tight weave to spot ticks easily.
- Wear enclosed shoes, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt. Tuck pant legs into socks or boots and shirt into pants.
- Check clothes and any exposed skin frequently for ticks while outdoors.
- Consider using insect repellent.
- Stay on cleared, well-traveled trails. Walk in the center of trails. Avoid dense woods and brushy areas.
- Avoid sitting directly on the ground or on stone walls.
- Keep long hair tied back, especially when gardening.
- Bathe or shower as soon as possible after going indoors (preferably within two hours) to wash off and more easily find ticks that may be on you.
- Do a final, full-body tick check at the end of the day (also check children and pets), and remove ticks promptly.
Despite taking these precautions and you do find a tick on your skin, it’s imperative to take action quickly! Use a pair of fine-tipped tweezers and pull the tick straight out (avoid twisting or jerking). The quicker you remove the tick the better because it takes time before the tick can eject its saliva into you. The saliva is what contains the bacteria and the virus.
After you pull off the tick, place it in a sealed bag or tape it to an index card, so a doctor can identify the species later on if necessary. Also writing down the time and date the tick was removed can also provide valuable info.
It’s important to stay a step ahead and prepare your very own “Tick Kit” this summer. It’s easy to put together, and you probably already own most of the supplies. Gather rubbing alcohol or an iodine scrub (to apply to bite), sealable bags or tape and index card (to preserve the tick for your doctor) and a pair of fine-tipped tweezers (to remove the tick). Then store them all together in a pouch or container. If you don’t have the time or items listed, you can order a preassembled kit too, CLICK HERE.
Here’s wishing you a happy and healthy summer!