Cases of Lyme disease are on the rise! Scientists believe that this increase is due in part to the surge in population of the blacklegged tick or deer tick, a known vector of Lyme disease. The symptoms of Lyme disease include headache, fever, fatigue and an easily identifiable rash known as a bull’s eye rash. If the infection is not treated it can spread to the joints, nervous system and heart. While most cases of Lyme disease are treated successfully with a dose of antibiotics it is always preferable to lower the risk of transmission whenever possible through the use of insect repellents such as DEET on exposed skin and permethrin on clothing. Blacklegged ticks are most active during the spring and summer months. A-Tex Pest Management offers helpful tips to prevent tick bites below.
How Can I Prevent Ticks from Latching on to My Skin
Take preventative measures year round to reduce your risk of contact with blacklegged ticks. Ticks are most active during the months of April through September. Avoid wooded areas with high grass and walk in the center of trails whenever possible. Use insect repellent that contains 20 to 30% DEET on areas of exposed skin and clothing. For additional protection treat backpacks, boots and other items of outdoor gear with products that contain permethrin. As soon as you return home bathe or shower to wash off any ticks which may have reached your skin. Examine clothing and backpacks before placing them in your dryer on high heat for approximately one hour to kill any unwanted hitchhikers.
How Do You Remove a Tick that is Embedded?
If you discover a tick attached to your skin, use a pair of fine tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the surface of the skin as possible before pulling upward using a firm steady motion. Once the tick is removed, clean the area of the bite along with your hands thoroughly with soap and water. Live ticks should be disposed of by submerging them in alcohol or flushing them down the toilet. Make a note of the date that you discovered the tick in case you develop an unexplained rash or fever several weeks after your findings. Should you require a trip to the doctor’s office be sure to discuss with your healthcare professional the particulars of your encounter including when and where your tick bite occurred. It is always preferable to avoid home remedies such as using nail polish to paint a tick, petroleum jelly to suffocate a tick, or a heated needle to make the tick let go of your skin. Time is crucial and the tick should be removed as soon as possible to avoid the spread of disease. Ticks removed within 24 hours of exposure do not result in the transmission of Lyme disease.