Beware of Tick Season in New England: Tricks to Avoid Lyme Disease
Editor's note: This article was written by a Townsquare Media Northern New England contributor and may contain the individual's views, opinions or personal experiences.
Ticks are tricky. So small, they can easily wreak havoc on a person of any age by hiding in your clothes, on pets, or finding their way onto your skin.
How do ticks get onto your skin?
Ticks live on ground level. They don't jump nor fly, but crawl up your legs, or wait on leaves until you walk by and brush against shrubs. Ticks get on your clothes and can bite through very light clothing, but generally, you can help prevent them from finding your skin.
Tuck your pants into your socks and wear light-colored clothing so you can see the little buggers.
What prevents tick bites?
Use permethrin, which repels and kills ticks. According to webMD.com, Deet also repels ticks, but it's good to use in addition to permethrin because it's not as effective alone.
Perform tick checks for every member of your family daily, if you live in a tick-infested area, or have been in or near the woods Wash all clothing in hot water to kill the ticks still on your clothes.
According to PA-C Lauren Rosa, at Northampton Integrative Medicine, another preventative is to buy or make tick tubes. Tick tubes are made from plastic or paper (like an empty toilet paper roll), and stuffed with lint soaked in permethrin. Place these around the outside of your home in various areas.
Mice are the first place a tick will go after the nymph stage and will take the permethrin-soaked lint to make nests, according to the article. Once the ticks find the mice, they will die from the permethrin in the nest. The mice are immune.
What if I find a tick on me?
According to TickEncounter at the University of Rhode Island, you should remove the tick immediately. Be sure to lift it straight up off the skin with tweezers, pulling the entire insect off the skin, the website states, and then put the tick in a bag and label it.
The tick can be tested to check if it's a carrier of Lyme Disease or other tick-born diseases, although Lyme Disease is by far the most prevalent. You can send the saved tick to tickreport.com to find out if the insect carries Lyme Disease or other diseases. Then your doctor can treat you accordingly.
What do deer ticks look like?
In the Northeast, the black-legged deer tick causes Lyme Disease, a bacterial disease possibly, but not always, detected by a red rash or ring, according to cdc.gov. The tick embeds itself into your skin, generally around your waist, behind ears, under your armpits, in your groin, or behind your knees and sucks blood into its body, the CDC states.
Sound gross? It is. The tick could be there for a few days sucking your skin until it falls off. The longer it is attached to you, the better your chances for contracting Lyme Disease, the CDC reported.
According to cdc.gov, testing is often not accurate until 4-6 weeks after the initial bite, when symptoms appear, such as painful joints, flu-like symptoms, fever, headache, and fatigue.
Can my pet carry deer ticks?
Yes, your pet can carry into your home any type of tick, which is why it is so important to do a daily tick check not only on yourself and your family, but also your pet.
Ticks can live for 1-3 days on pets, including dogs and horses, according to the CDC
Pets can also become ill from various ticks, so it's suggested to keep your lovable pet, who's also part of your family, protected by spraying with tick-killing products before they roam around outside.
Try this at home.
Buy some chickens or guinea fowl for your yard. They love to eat ticks.
Be safe and smart when you're outside, especially here in New England where Lyme Disease is common. Trust me, you don't want Lyme Disease. It's as miserable as these little demons that cause it.