An extremely heavy tick season is headed our way, and you may already be feeling the effects. In 2010, oak trees yielded a particularly large acorn crop, which contributed to a boom in the white-footed mouse population last year. Ticks have been feeding on the abundance of mice and that, coupled with a mild winter, has possibly lead to a tick season for the record books this spring. Ticks are responsible for transmitting several diseases such as Lyme Disease, Colorado Tick Fever, Rocky Mountain Spotted fever, and Q fever. Now that you know there are more ticks ready to feed on you, here are some prevention and removal tips to get you through a healthy tick season.
HOW TO PREVENT GETTING A TICK BITE
The best way to prevent the transmission of tick-borne illness is to prevent tick bites all together. The CDC recommends for you avoid ticks by using repellents, checking for ticks, and taking a shower after you’ve been in tick ridden environments. It’s recommended that if you are venturing into heavily wooded areas, particularly ones with tall grass, you should wear long sleeve clothing. Tucking your pants into your socks in areas with tall grass is also helpful. Common places to find ticks are:
- Under arms
- In and around the ears
- Inside the belly button, back of the knees
- In and around hair
- Between legs
- Around the waist
HOW TO REMOVE A TICK
According to the CDC, the best way to remove a tick is by using a pair of fine-tipped tweezers and gripping the tick as close to the skin as possible. Slowly and steadily pull the tick away from the skin and eventually the tick should release. If the ticks mouth is left penetrated in the skin, you should thoroughly cleanse the area with soapy water or alcohol. Dispose of the tick by submersing it in alcohol or flushing it down the toilet.
Never crush a tick with your fingers.
The important part to remember is to remove the tick as soon as possible when it is discovered on your skin, and that is the reason why this method is preferred over “folklore remedies” such as applying a gob of petroleum jelly or heat to make the tick come out on their own: It’s quickest to remove the tick yourself.