Let’s be honest. Ticks are horrible. This morning I found a tick in my laundry basket and freaked out. The tick must have taken a free ride to my house by means of my dog. We are constantly out and about and the tick must have jumped onto my dog while walking in the woods. I scrubbed down the dog with a towel and that towel went into the laundry. It went through the washer and dryer and it did not survive. The fact that it made it into my house thoroughly grosses me out and it also put me on high tick alert. I thought ticks were like cockroaches and they survive everything including an apocalypse and the spin cycle of a laundry machine. It is my guess that ticks will be around until the end of time. With that said, ticks are bad news. They carry a slew of diseases that are bad for you and bad for your pets.
So let’s hear from Dr. O’Hara and learn how we can protect ourselves and our furry friends from ticks.
HUMANS AND TICKS
It is Tick Season and we all want to stay safe from tick bites. Deer ticks carry 6 different infections in the Eastern US. Yup, SIX so that should be reason enough to take some precautions to protect yourself. Here are some tips from TuftsNow
- Make protection part of your routine. “The most important step is to be aware of the many places you can encounter ticks, Taking protective measures must become as ingrained as buckling your seatbelt or putting on sunblock in the summer.
- Use proven repellants. People do not like “DEET,” but it works. Use a repellant that includes at least 20 percent DEET on your skin as directed by the label.” To further repel ticks, you can also wear clothing treated with permethrin. (Be sure to keep permethrin spray and still-wet treated items away from cats as the chemical is highly toxic to them; once dry, treated clothing should pose little risk.)
- Do a tick check. Do it every night and also when you walk your dog outdoors. Ticks are almost impossible to find in your own hair, so have a loved one scour your scalp. Feel your body for new bumps while soaping up during a shower—experts recommended you take one after engaging in outdoor activities to help dislodge ticks. Do the same for your pets. They cannot find them on their own.
- If you find a tick, pull it out. Tweezers work best. Don’t worry about getting the tick tested afterward: Even if a tick test is positive for a pathogen, that doesn’t mean it transmitted disease to you, and a physician is unlikely to treat a healthy person based on a positive test. Tick tests may also offer a false sense of security.
- Watch for fevers and rashes. If you develop either, see a doctor. You also may want to talk to your doctor if you’ve had a tick on you for between 24 and 48 hours. It takes about a day for a tick to transmit Lyme disease, but if you catch it soon afterward, there’s good evidence that taking two 100-milligram doses of doxycycline reduces your risk of developing Lyme disease by 85 percent.
PETS AND TICKS Tips from TuftsNow
- Take care of your yard. Mowing the lawn regularly will make your backyard less attractive to ticks. Be sure to pull tall weeds and to remove leaf litter, particularly from under shrubs and around the perimeter, because that’s where ticks hide. Secure your outdoor trash cans to discourage rodents that carry deer ticks.
- Use a tick preventive on your pet. Make sure you choose a veterinarian-recommended product that is safe for all the animals in your household.
- Check your animals for ticks daily. If your pets spend time outside, feel them for bumps, parting their fur so you can see where the coat meets the skin. Pay particular attention to under the legs, around the neck and inside the ears.
- Talk to your veterinarian about a canine Lyme vaccine. Some research suggests that vaccination appears to work well in preventing infection in dogs not previously exposed to the Lyme bacterium. However, it’s still important to use a tick preventive on your pet.
- Protect yourself. Use repellent, wear treated clothing, shower after being outside and regularly check yourself for ticks. They can hop from you to your pet.
I am a New England gal and I am always outdoors. I know lots of my friends are out walking their dogs right now. Listen up friends, you need to practice tick prevention. Here is a little gift from your photographer friend Dana Berenson Photography. Learn how to identify your ticks. These photos are from TickEncounter
Knowing how to remove a tick is important. Do NOT set it on fire when it is attached to you or your pet. That is pure insanity. Check out this video on how to remove a tick the right way.
Here are some good resources that I found that will help you with ticks.
Tick Removal Check out the pictures of how to remove a tick. It shows you just where your tweezers should go.
The Tick Encounter RESOURCE CENTER All the facts you need to know about Ticks and tick-borne diseases.
The Tick Report I downloaded the APP on my phone so that I can look it up if I find one on my body or my dogs
Tick Twister This is a great product you can use to remove ticks.