Spending time outside is important for your health and well-being. When deciding what to do outside, nature hikes are always a popular choice. Should a walk or bike ride through the woods, or maybe a mushroom hunt be on your agenda, keep in mind that ticks can be active for a greater part of the spring, summer and fall. Ticks are most active during the warmer, dryer conditions of the day. Several different species of ticks are found in our area, and some ticks transmit bacteria that can cause illnesses. Your risk of contracting these diseases depends on how well you protect yourself.
Preventing tick bites
The best way to avoid disease from ticks is to avoid the bite. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the best system for repelling ticks is to use repellents that contain 20 to 30% DEET on exposed skin and clothing.
Here are some other tips to help you avoid contact with ticks:
- Avoid taking short cuts through thick brush and grass
- Walk in the center of trails
- Check for ticks after outdoor activities
- Take a shower- it helps remove non-visible ticks
- Change clothes
Ticks have some tricks. They use an anesthetic in their saliva so you cannot feel it latching on to your skin. To learn more about ticks and tick-borne illness, check out this article on Parkview.com.
How to remove a tick
If you see a tick on your body, remove it without delay. Do not try and cover it in oils, paints or use matches. This only delays the removal. The sooner you find and remove tick, the greater the chance that you will reduce risk of infection or disease.
- Use a tweezers to grasp tick as close to skin as possible
- Pull upward with a slow steady pressure
- After removing the tick thoroughly clean the bite area and hands with rubbing alcohol or soap and water
Symptoms of tick borne illness
If you have been bitten by a tick, and experience any of the below symptoms, you should contact your health care provider immediately.
- Aches and pains
- Stiff neck
- Joint pain and inflammation
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Flu-like symptoms