Keeping Your Family Safe from Ticks This Year
Each year around this time we get a lot of questions about ticks, Lyme disease, and tick prevention. Families everywhere are worried about the effects of ticks on themselves, their kids, and their pets. While ticks and the diseases they can carry (mainly Lyme disease) are not to be ignored, if you know what you’re up against and how to protect your family, you’ll be able to relax a little more in the coming warmer months.
The quick facts – what you need to know about ticks:
- They’re not insects; they’re part of the arachnid family (meaning they have 8 legs)
- They can’t jump or fly
- They typically grow to be about the size of an apple seed
- Not all ticks can spread diseases
- They’re typically found in heavily wooded areas or areas where many rodents reside
- There are as many as 15 diseases caused by ticks, but most are extremely rare, with the exception of Lyme disease, which affects about 30,000 individuals per year
- Most infections caused by ticks are easily treatable and do not produce noticeable symptoms (fever, fatigue, rash, etc.)
- Ticks can spend a few days feeding on one host
- Ticks can survive long periods of time without any air
Tips for treating and preventing:
- Inspect. You typically cannot feel a tick biting you, so it’s important to check your body (as well as your kids and pets) after spending a prolonged period of time outside. This is especially true after hiking or camping.
- Cover up. If you’re hiking or walking through a heavily wooded area, wear long sleeves and pants, and ditch the sandals for shoes that cover your entire feet.
- Repel. Keep your pets up to date on tick medications, and consider using DEET repellents or organic repellents for you and your family members. Just remember to reapply regularly, as many will not last more than a few hours.
- Remove. If you discover a tick, use tweezers to pluck it from your skin. Gently grab close to its mouth (the part in your skin – never pull from the body) and pull straight back (never twisting). Remember when we said they can survive without air? This is why it’s a bad idea to try out those home remedies of suffocating ticks with rubbing alcohol or nail polish.
- Store. If you remove a tick, store it in a closed jar for a few days incase you notice any potential symptoms of infection and need to see a doctor.
Our hope is that none of this freaks you out even more, but instead puts you and your family at ease so you can enjoy your spring and summer even more! If you still have any questions about ticks, or any other pests, don’t ever hesitate to reach out to us. Head to our Facebook page for some answers, or leave us a question in a message or comment.