The ticks are out there. Our local news reported to expect more tick this year due to the mild winter. With that in mind, prevention is your best protection against tick bites.
According to MedLine Plus,
“to help protect yourself and your family, you should:
- Use a chemical repellent with DEET, permethrin or picaridin
- Wear light-colored protective clothing
- Tuck pant legs into socks
- Avoid tick-infested areas
Check yourself, your children and your pets daily for ticks. Ticks like to hide in body folds and waist band area.”
What do they look like?
Ticks can be as big as a blueberry, especially if it has been feeding and is blood engorged. They can be as small as the tip of a felt pen. They can even look like a mole that is moving. Carefully remove the tick.
Click on photos to enlarge
How to remove a tick?
The National Institute of Health’s Monthly Newsletter says:
“to promptly remove ticks to reduce the risk of tick-borne diseases.
- Use fine-tipped tweezers.
- Grab the tick close to the skin and gently pull upward to remove the entire tick.
- Don’t use home remedies like petroleum jelly, nail polish, or a lit match to try to detach ticks.
After removing the tick, clean the bite area and wash your hands thoroughly.
If you develop a fever, severe headaches, or a rash within weeks of removing the tick, see a doctor.”
When should I worry?
Lyme disease is just one of several tick-borne diseases.
According to the National Institute of Health’s Monthly Newsletter:
“Tick-borne diseases tend to share certain symptoms. Symptoms can include
- muscle or joint pain, and
- extreme fatigue.
People with lyme disease usually get an expanding red rash that sometimes resembles a bull’s-eye.
The rash is usually tender, not painful or itchy, so people may not realize they’re sick.”
If left untreated, the infection can spread and it is not unusual for a rash to occur in other parts of the body. Some people may develop nerve problems, arthritis, or other disorders. Even if lyme disease isn’t caught until later stages, most people fully recover after treatment with antibiotics.