Part of the nightly routine for many of us who live in wooded areas, now that temperatures are rising, is to check ourselves and family members for ticks. This is particularly true for those of us who have children or grandchildren who love to play outside.
If your family lives in an area where small mammals or deer live, there is a greater potential for people and ticks that carry disease to come into contact. Lyme disease, which ticks pick up bacteria from feeding on rodents or deer and then pass it on to humans, is on the rise.
Health officials advise you do the following things any time you are where there’s a potential for you to come into contact with ticks:
- Cover up with light-colored clothing to allow you to spot ticks more easily.
- Wear close-toed shoes.
- Tuck your pant legs in to your socks to prevent ticks from crawling up your legs.
- Tuck your shirt in to prevent ticks from getting on your skin.
- Use insect repellents that contain DEET or Icaridin.
- Shower or bathe within two hours of being outdoors to wash away loose ticks.
- Do daily “full body” checks for ticks on yourself, your children and your pets.
- If you find a tick on your skin, remove it with 24 to 36 hours.
On average, a tick needs to be attached for about 36 hours for you to become infected; therefore, if you find the tick right away and remove it, the odds of you becoming infected are very slim.