With spring finally here, it’s a great time to get out and enjoy the outdoors! This warmer weather also means that it’s a busier time of the year for ticks, which are most active from April to September. Make sure you’re protecting yourself and your family from Lyme and other tickborne diseases by preventing tick bites.
Use the following tips to help protect against diseases carried by ticks:
- Know where to expect ticks. Ticks live in wooded areas and in brushy areas with tall grass and leaf litter. Outdoor activities like hunting, camping, gardening, or dog-walking can bring you in close contact with ticks. Ticks can even be found in your own yard.
- Make your yard less attractive to ticks through landscaping and yard maintenance. You can do this by mowing your lawn often, keeping leaves raked, stacking wood neatly, and removing any trash from the yard. A three-foot wide barrier of wood chips or gravel around patios and play equipment can also deter ticks from migrating into these areas. For more information on preventing ticks in your yard, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/prev/in_the_yard.html.
- Dress to repel. When possible, dress in light-colored clothing including pants and long-sleeved shirts. This makes it easier to spot ticks before they bite. Applying insect repellent that is effective against ticks also helps keep ticks from biting. Use this tool to help you find a product that works for you and your family: https://www.epa.gov/insect-repellents/find-repellent-right-you
- Check for ticks and shower or bathe after being outside. Make sure to check less obvious places like in and around the hair, inside the belly button, and under the arms. Don’t forget to check pets, too!
How to Remove a Tick
If you find a tick on yourself or your child, follow these steps to remove it:
- Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as you can.
- Pull steadily upward to remove the tick. Do not twist or jerk the tick. If the tick’s mouth detaches from the tick’s body and you cannot remove it easily, leave it alone and let the skin heal.
- After you remove the tick, clean your hands and the bite area with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
- Dispose of the tick by putting it in rubbing alcohol, putting it in a sealed container, wrapping it tightly in tape, or flushing it down the toilet.
When to Contact a Health Care Provider
If you develop symptoms like a fever, a rash, exhaustion, or muscle and joint aches, contact your health care provider. Tell your health care provider if you have had a tick bite or have been in an area where you may have been exposed to ticks. Lyme disease is treatable with antibiotics.
To learn more about ticks and Lyme disease, visit https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/index.html or https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/lyme/ or contact Schuyler County Public Health.