Watch for Small Creatures that Cause Big Problems!

It amazes me how microscopic creatures can cause some of the biggest health problems.  This is the case when it comes to the feared Lymes Disease.

Lymes Diease is caused by ticks, and as you know, populations appear to be thriving after last fall’s dry weather and this season’s wet, humid weather.  Today we want to provide some Tick Facts to help protect you, your family and even your livestock from the threat of Lymes Disease.

A bacteria-infected deer tick must attach itself to a body for 36-48 hours.  The young deer tick, generally in the nymph stage of development, is often the culprit because it’s so small.  Larger ticks can go undetected, too, because they find sneaky hiding spots.

After working outside, especially in wooded areas, be sure to examine your clothing.  It’s also important to check all around your head and ear, as well as in your hair including under your arms.  Also look inside your belly button!  If you find a tick, follow the steps below to remove it.

How to remove a tick

  1. Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.
  2. Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick as this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you’re unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.
  3. After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.

Within 3 to 30 days of bite, you may experience fever, body aches, chills, extreme fatigue and swollen lymph glands.  Since everyone’s immune response can be different, you may or may not experience this.  Another notorious symptom is the bull’s eye rash.  Generally, 80% of people will get this but there is a slight chance you could have Lymes without a rash.  If you exhibit symptoms of Lymes Disease – especially with a bull’s eye rash – promptly see your doctor and get a blood test.  The longer you delay, the more damage to your body systems can occur.

Prevention Tips

Lymes Disease affects more than humans. It has been diagnosed in dogs, cats, horses, goat, sheep and cattle. To reduce the threat of Lymes Disease, reduce tick habitat. Ticks are most abundant in humid areas of tall grass, weeds and shrubs where there is an abundant food supply from small mammals. Keep pastures mowed down to make areas less desirable for ticks, and remove brush or wood piles from pasture areas to deter rodents that may carry ticks.

We have waited so long for the return of warm, summer days, so we want to enjoy every moment that we can outside.  We can enjoy summer to the fullest without worries of ticks if we take a few preventative measures.  If you’re going to be in the woods or around tall grasses, consider pretreating your clothes with permethrin.  (NOTE:  Permethrin can be used only on clothing, not skin.)  Spray your body with insect repellents that contain at least 20% DEET, which are the most effective against ticks.

Wearing light-colored clothing makes ticks easier to spot; check for ticks on your clothing before you step inside the house.  Additionally, shower and make sure to check for ticks hiding on your body.  Also check your pets so they don’t infected ticks into your house; make sure your pets have some type of tick preventive collar or medicine.

For more prevention tips, click on the links below: