Protect Yourself Against the Growing Tick Threat

As the climate changes, new areas are becoming more habitable for ticks. These pests are now invading areas that have traditionally not been tick-prone, and with their increasing abundance come higher risks of dangerous diseases such as Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. In this blog post, we’ll discuss how to avoid ticks and what to do if you find one on you.

1. Know Your Enemy: Types of Ticks

There are four primary types of ticks found in the United States – the deer tick, the dog tick, the lone star tick, and the Rocky Mountain wood tick. Each species has unique characteristics and habitats. The deer tick is the most infamous, as it can transmit the bacterium that causes Lyme disease. It is tiny and brown with black legs, and its range is expanding northward.

2. Protective Measures: Avoiding Ticks

To stay safe when venturing outdoors, follow these guidelines. Firstly, be tick-aware and research the tick hotspots in your area. Perform diligent tick checks every few hours, particularly in the evenings and before bed. Use EPA-registered sprays, such as DEET or picaridin, on your skin, clothes, and shoes. Wear light-colored clothing, shoes, and long-sleeved pants to spot ticks more easily. Tuck your pant legs into your socks to prevent ticks from crawling up your legs.

3. Tick Removal: Safe and Effective Techniques

If you find a tick on your skin, do not panic and avoid squeezing or twisting the tick’s body. Use tweezers or a tick removal key to grasp the tick as close to your skin as possible. Pull it upward with a steady, even motion and do not jerk or twist the tick. Clean the bite area with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.

4. What to Do If You Get Sick

If you develop symptoms after a tick bite, particularly fever, rash, or flu-like symptoms, seek medical attention right away. In the case of a bull’s-eye rash, which is a potential symptom of Lyme disease, don’t delay seeking medical treatment. Save the tick in a sealed Ziploc bag in case you get sick and need to test it. Remember that Lyme disease can have long-term symptoms if not treated promptly.

5. Protecting Your Pets

Dogs and other outdoor pets are also at risk for tick-borne diseases. Speak to your veterinarian about tick preventative medication and regularly check your pet for ticks.

Ticks are undoubtedly a growing threat in many regions of the United States. However, by educating yourself about the risks and taking appropriate preventative measures, you can reduce your exposure to ticks and protect yourself and your family from the diseases they transmit. Remember to stay vigilant, and if you think you may have been bitten by a tick, don’t hesitate to seek medical attention. With a few simple precautions, you can enjoy the great outdoors without endangering your health.