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Watch for Small Creatures that Cause Big Problems

06/17/2013 @ 7:51am

Microscopic creatures, like ticks, can cause some of the biggest health problems.  This is the case when it comes to the feared Lymes Disease.  Tick populations appear to be thriving after last fall’s dry weather and this season’s wet, humid weather.  That's why we're providing Tick Facts to help protect your family. 

A bacteria-infected deer tick must attach itself to a body for 36-48 hours.  The young deer tick, generally in the nymph stage of development, is often the culprit because it’s so small.  Larger ticks can go undetected, too, because they find sneaky hiding spots. 

After working outside, especially in wooded areas, be sure to examine your clothing.  It’s also important to check all around your head and ear, as well as in your hair including under your arms.  Also look inside your belly button!  If you find a tick, follow the steps below to remove it. 

How to remove a tick

  1. Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin's surface as possible. 
  2. Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don't twist or jerk the tick as this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you’re unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.
  3. After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.

Within 3 to 30 days of bite, you may experience fever, body aches, chills, extreme fatigue and swollen lymph glands.  Since everyone’s immune response can be different, you may or may not experience this.  

Another notorious symptom is the bull’s eye rash.  Generally, 80% of people will get this but there is a slight chance you could have Lymes without a rash.  If you exhibit symptoms of Lymes Disease – especially with a bull’s eye rash – promptly see your doctor and get a blood test.  The longer you delay, the more damage to your body systems can occur.

Prevention Tips

We can enjoy summer to the fullest without worries of ticks if we take a few preventative measures.  If you’re going to be in the woods or around tall grasses, consider pre-treating clothes with permethrin.  (NOTE:  Permethrin can be used only on clothing, not skin.)  Spray your body with insect repellents that contain at least 20% DEET, which are the most effective against ticks. 

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