ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Each year, ticks bite millions of Americans. And these pesky critters can make you very sick. Ivanhoe tells us how to prevent a tick bite.
They’re small, blood-sucking bugs, and you don’t want them to bite you! A tick can spread serious diseases, such as Lyme disease, rocky mountain spotted fever, tularemia, and others.
“It’s very important for people to protect themselves against getting tick bites,” shared Kathleen Townes, MD, Internal Medicine/Pediatrics with North Shore Physicians Group.
To do that, avoid tick-infested areas like grassy or wooded spots; walk in the center of trails; wear long pants, sleeves, and a hat. It’s a good idea to tuck your pants into your socks. Also, use a chemical insect repellant that contains deet, permethrin, or picaridin. Make sure pets are treated with tick prevention medicine and don’t let them sleep in your bed. And check yourself daily for ticks. The sooner you remove one, the better!
“Lyme disease is not transmitted unless the tick is attached for at least 36 hours,” explained Dr. Townes.
To remove a tick, use pointed tweezers to grab it as close as possible to your skin. Without squeezing, pull the tick straight out, keeping it intact. If the head remains, leave it. Seal the tick in a plastic zip lock bag. Rub the bite with alcohol and wash your hands. But remember …
“If you can avoid getting exposed to a tick in the first place, that is the best thing you can do for yourself,” said Dr. Townes.
There are many kinds of ticks that are found in different regions of the country. Some common ones include the deer tick, the dog tick, and the lone star tick.
Contributors to this news report include: Julie Marks, Producer; and Roque Correa, Editor.
KEEPING TICKS AWAY
BACKGROUND: Only a few types of ticks spread disease in the U.S. However, they are still dangerous and can spread Lyme disease as well as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever to unsuspecting people. Lyme disease can cause joint pain, inflammation of the brain, and other common symptoms such as a fever or chills. Ticks start to infect the body with their blood thinning saliva that disrupts your immune system after they have been feeding on you for 36 hours. After the 36 hours passes and the tick is still attached to you, you become at risk for Lyme disease. Ticks also attach themselves to dogs, deer, and other furry animals, so being sure your dog doesn’t bring them into the house is another way to check for ticks.
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF: You can only remove ticks with tweezers and be sure to clean the wound it leaves behind with alcohol or another disinfectant. You can put the tick in a clear sealed bag so that your doctor can identify it if you later show symptoms like fever, headache, fatigue, muscle aches and in some cases a rash. The ‘bulls eye rash’ is specific to Lyme disease. A person is more likely to get bit by a tick in the summer. Wearing long pants and tucking them into your socks is the best way to prevent this. Bug spray with at least 20% DEET in it will also help protect against ticks. Routinely checking for ticks is important, about every two to three hours you should check your scalp, belly button, armpits, ears, the back of your knees, and between your legs. Looking closely at your skin is also important since ticks can be very small and hard to see on your skin if they have recently attached themselves to you.
KEEP TICKS AWAY: Knowing where to expect ticks is important in preventing them. Ticks live in grassy, wooded areas and even on animals. You could contract a tick while walking your dog, camping, gardening, or hunting. It is common for people to contract ticks from their own yard. Treating your clothes with Permethrin keeps your boots, clothing and camping gear protected even after several washes. You could also buy permethrin-treated clothing and gear. Check your clothing for ticks after coming indoors as ticks can be carried in the home. Tumbling dry clothes in high heat for 10 minutes can kill any ticks on your clothing. Examine you gear and pets in order to be sure they are tick free. Showering within two hours of coming inside can prevent Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses. Showering will help wash off unattached ticks and will help you check yourself for any ticks that may be attached already.
* For More Information, Contact:
Kathleen Townes, MD
Free weekly e-mail on Medical Breakthroughs from Ivanhoe. To sign up: http://www.ivanhoe.com/ftk