One run in with a tick could result in a tickborne illness like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain fever. May through June is prime tick season, but there are some things you can do to lower your chances of acquiring a tickborne illness.
Tips to Avoid Ticks
- When in wooded areas, wear light-colored clothes and tuck pants inside socks.
- Avoid areas of high grass and piles of leaves.
- When hiking, stay in the middle of the trail.
Even when a tick is sucking your blood, you won’t necessarily feel it. Perform a full-body check when you come in from the great outdoors. If you have a tick, remove it as quickly as you can.
How to Remove Ticks
Some people say you should light a match to get the little critter off your skin. Others say coat it with petroleum jelly or some other substance. According to the Harvard Health Blog, however, that might actually make the tick burrow in more and increase your chances of illness.
Here’s what you should do:
- Using tweezers, grab the tick close to its head.
- Slowly and steadily pull it straight out. Try not to crush it or leave the head in your skin.
- Wash thoroughly.
- Save the tick in a jar for a few weeks. If you show signs of illness, see your doctor and bring the tick.
Symptoms of Tickborne Diseases
- aches and pains
- chills and fever
Here’s what a tick looks like:
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 95 percent of Lyme disease cases occur in 12 states. These are Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Sixty percent of Rocky Mountain spotted fever cases occur in North Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma.
Dogs are also very susceptible to tick bites and can transport ticks into your home. Ask your veterinarian about the best way to protect your dog from ticks.