Do you live in a moist and humid environment near grassy or wooded areas? You may want to protect yourself against ticks this season. Ticks seek out heat, and for this reason you should dress in light loose fitting clothes and try to walk in the middle of an open trail. Outdoor adventurers in the New England and mid-Atlantic states are at the greatest risk, so be aware when you are walking in these areas where Lyme Disease is prevalent.
After any outdoor activity, remove any tick you find using a fine tipped tweezer. Be sure to remove the entire head when pulling the tick out, and be sure to remove it within 24 hours of it latching on as this will minimize your chances of contracting Lyme Disease.
Another management tactic is to do a daily complete body check, paying close attention to under your arms, around and inside your ears, inside your belly button, the back of your knees, between your legs, around your waist and neck, and your entire head. If you have pets, be sure to check them as well. Many people get ticks that jump off their pet or ones that fall on the floor where their pet sleeps.
Managing Ticks at Home
If you don’t want to use chemicals and completely re-scape your yard, some natural remedies for tick removal are available. Birds, domestic and wild, are excellent at removing large quantities of ticks. Chickens, turkeys, and ducks are wonderful pets that will keep ticks away from your yard, but if you don’t have the time or resources to house these birds, try designing a landscape that brings wild species to your yard.
Fowl community not for you. There is the route of chemicals. When looking for the best bug repellent for you and your family, visit ewg.org and read about the pros and cons of the different choices available.
There are a few precautions to consider when using repellents.
According to CDC “Always follow the recommendations appearing on the product label. EPA recommends the following when using insect repellents:
- Apply repellents only to exposed skin and/or clothing (as directed on the product label). Do not apply repellents under your clothing.
- Never use repellents over cuts, wounds or irritated skin.
- Do not apply to eyes or mouth, and apply sparingly around ears. When using repellent sprays, do not spray directly on your face—spray on your hands first and then apply to your face.
- Do not allow children to handle or spray the product. When using on children, apply to your own hands first and then put it on the child. Avoid applying repellent to children’s hands because children frequently put their hands in their eyes and mouths.
- Use just enough repellent to cover exposed skin and/or clothing. Heavy application does not give you better or longer lasting protection.
- After returning indoors, wash treated skin with soap and water or bathe. This is particularly important when repellents are used repeatedly in a day or on consecutive days.
- If you (or your child) get a rash or other reaction from a repellent, stop using the repellent, wash the repellent off with mild soap and water, and call a local poison control center for further guidance. If you go to a doctor, it might be helpful to take the repellent with you.”
- Products containing oil of eucalyptus should not be used on children under 3 years.
Ticks don’t just spread Lyme Disease, they can also spread, Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis, Colorado tick fever, Ehrlichiosis, Powassan virus, Rocky Mountain Fever, Southern tick-associated rash illness, Tick-borne relapsing fever, and Tularemia. Geographic distributions for these illnesses are listed at cdc.gov.