It is so important for everyone to have this knowledge. Learn. Teach your kids. Teach your friends. Remember folks, prevention is key!
Ok.. so maybe a little overkill.. But there are some things you should be wearing while venturing into the great outdoors. Wear a hat, long sleeved shirt, bug spray on skin and clothes, long pants ,high socks (could have a woodlands fashion show and tuck the pants into your high socks!) and wear sneakers instead of sandals. Try to remember to wear light colored clothing in order to make the ticks more visible.
Check yourself or have someone help check you to make sure you don’t have any ticks on you. Take a shower. You probably stink from spending the afternoon outside anyways. 🙂 According to the CDC, it is unlikely to contract Lyme unless a tick has been on you for more than 36 hours. I think once you see a tick attached, and do not know exactly how long it has been on you, you should take preventative measures. Better to take action than to be in a situation like my own, or many others because you don’t know any better. So, what do you do when you see a tick attached to you?
DO NOT – use a lighter, matches, petroleum jelly, or whatever else they have been telling you to use these days. Don’t try to just dig it out with your fingers or squeeze it.
DO – Use fine tipped tweezers. Grab the tick as closely as you can to the skin and pull the ticks body away straight out and away from the skin. Try to get all of it. But, the Lyme bacteria is spread through the saliva glands of a tick, so you should be ok if you get a leg stuck in there or something. Cleanse the area of skin throughly with an antiseptic. If the tick is completely buried in you, obviously see someone to have it removed, but be aware that most Doctors are not Lyme literate and they will probably tell you that you are fine because you don’t have a rash, or give you their version of a high dose preventative measure, which probably won’t help you out in the long haul. If they won’t help, find a Lyme Literate Doctor.
Now… once you have the tick out of you, don’t burn it, flush it, chuck it back outside, or whatever you want to do with it. I have been guilty of all of these. The wisest thing to do is send the tick in for testing. If you would like in the meantime, find a Lyme Literate Doctor and they will help you find a place to have the tick tested, and be proactive while you are awaiting your tick test results. If you would like to do this on your own, here is a few places listed on this website and directions as to how to send the tick. http://www.tickencounter.org/tick_testing .Test the tick before getting freaked out. Deer ticks, by the way, are the most likely to carry the Borrellia Burgdorferi bacteria, aka Lyme.
Other proactive measures to take… keep your lawn mowed! Ticks like to hide in tall grass. Keep your yard clean from leaves and clear of brush. Who doesn’t like a nice looking yard? Gotta keep up with the Joneses anyways, right? Another would be if you are walking in the woods, try to stay on a path, if there is one. Put your children’s play areas in dry, sunny areas of the yard. there is actually a completely safe product on the market that is made from cedar oil that you can spray in your yard to repel ticks. I’ve seen prices range from 16-30$, and I am not sure of it’s effectiveness. Like I said, completely safe, so maybe worth a shot.
If you want to go even further, chickens are a great way to lower the tick population on your property. They like to eat ticks. Bonus: eggs and yummy roast chicken dinners! Or chicken noodle soup, or chicken barbecue, or kung pao chicken 🙂
Another important thing to do is to prevent ticks from attaching to your pets! There is a Lyme vaccine for dogs, I make sure I get my dog’s done every year. The company that I recommend and have best luck with is Frontline. It’s a little pricey, but you get what you pay for. A 3 month supply in my neck of the woods is around 50$. Another thing to do that I have been guilty of in the past is try to not have your dog sleep on the bed with you. Those little bastards could crawl right off your dog and onto you. Check your dog or cat often.
Hope this helps! 😉 🙂 😉