My poor husband was attacked by a dog tick. He wasn’t anywhere that was a tick haven… He was in our yard. We do live near a forest preserve and have our share of wild furries sharing our space. Luckily, it’s not the tick vector for Lyme’s Disease. Granted, there’s other things he might be able to look forward to, like Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Bartonella. Yeah!
The best way to prevent a tick borne illness is to avoid tick bites. If you’re going to visit wooded areas or areas with tall grass, follow these precautions to help prevent tick bites and the risk of disease:
- Wear light-colored, long-sleeved shirts, long trousers, boots or sturdy shoes and a head covering (ticks will jump from trees). Tuck your pants into your socks. For extra protection, tape the area where your pants and socks meet.
- Apply insect repellent to your clothes containing 10 percent to 30 percent DEET. Use repellents containing permethrin to treat any exposed skin. Be sure to wash treated skin after coming indoors. Always follow label directions; do not misuse or overuse repellents. Always supervise children when using repellents.
- Try to walk in the center of trails so weeds do not brush against you. If your camping area is full of leaf litter, a favorite place for ticks to hide, be sure to sit on chairs, not on the ground.
- Check yourself every two to three hours for ticks. Most ticks don’t attach right away and rarely transmit disease until they have been attached four or more hours. Don’t forget about your fur friend! Check them for ticks, also.
- Remove any tick you find promptly and properly! A tick’s mouth parts are barbed and can remain embedded which could lead to infection at the bite site. Do not try to burn the tick with a match, cover it with petroleum jelly or nail polish. Do not use bare hands to remove the tick because tick secretions may carry disease. The best way to remove a tick is to grasp it firmly with tweezers as close to the skin as possible and gently, but firmly, pull it straight out. Do not twist or jerk the tick. If tweezers are not available, grasp the tick with a piece of tissue or cloth or whatever can be used as a barrier between your fingers and the tick. If you want to have the tick identified, put it in a small vial of alcohol.
- Wash the bite area thoroughly with soap and water, then apply an antiseptic to the bite site.
- If you have an unexplained illness with fever, contact your doctor. Be sure to tell the doctor you’ve been bitten by a tick recently.
© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl