Last spring, hubby and I were working in our flower beds. After wards we went into the house for showers and a quiet evening. We did our tick check and found a tiny tick on the back side of my right ear lobe. He wasn’t attached yet but unfortunately he bit me. It took months for that sore place to heal. I really hate ticks and now I think of that experience every time I look at my flowers. The good news is I did not catch any of the 10 diseases (viruses,germs and parasites) that ticks carry.
How can we protect ourselves and loved ones from tick bites?
Ticks live in moist, humid places so grassy places and woods are their habitat. However, remember that deer and animals can carry ticks into your yard. Since we treat our yard routinely, I think the deer who often walk through our yard at night left that hungry tick behind to chew on me.
According to the CDC website, we can protect ourselves by using DEET repellent on our skin and permethrin products which kill ticks on our boots, clothing and camping gear. (Don’t use permethrin on skin). For details on how to properly use these products, check out http://www.cdc.gov/Features/StopTicks/
After last year’s experience of finding the tick, we will continue this habit. As you come in, check your clothing for ticks. Shower as soon as you can. A shower within 2 hours is recommended as one way to find and wash away any unattached ticks. Physically look and check for ticks. If you are doing this tick check on yourself, use a mirror to examine hard-to-see areas. Body areas that you should check include: under the arms, between legs, in and around your hair, inside belly button, at the waist, backs of knees –and don’t forget your ears.
What if you find a tick?
If you find a tick attached, the CDC recommends, “grasping with tweezers, as close to the skin as possible, and pulling it straight out.” http://www.cdc.gov/Features/StopTicks/
Other preventive actions
Treat your yard to create “tick-safe zones”. More information about this topic can be found at http://www.ct.gov/caes/lib/caes/documents/special_features/tickhandbook.pdf
Discourage deer (My personal opinion is good luck on this one. When our subdivision was built on original farm land that deer wandered through, that’s probably not going to change.) The suggested actions involve removing plants that deer like to feed on and constructing physical barriers to keep deer out.
Protect your family pets (which also protects your family) http://www.cdc.gov/ticks/avoid/on_pets.html
If you do get tick bit, watch the wound carefully and seek medical help if a fever or rash develops. More information can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/Features/StopTicks/