Health Experts Warn of Heavy Tick Season
A tick(ing) time bomb is set to explode this season, in fields, forests and yards across the country, as we head into what is expected to be an extremely heavy tick season. And with ticks, come the dangers of tick-borne disease, such as Lyme disease.
Health and insect experts are calling it a perfect storm of conditions coming together to create a tick population explosion, due in part to the mild winter that has allowed ticks and other insects to thrive and emerge earlier than usual.
Ticks are small and can be easy to miss, especially if they’ve latched themselves onto a hairy pet or a spot on a human that’s hard to reach or see, such as the top of the head or back.While most people may be aware of deer ticks, which carry Lyme disease, there are other tick species that carry a variety of other diseases.
Protecting Yourself and Family Members
Ticks are more prevalent in tall grass and wooded areas, also ideal places for mushroom hunting. Before heading out, dress in long sleeves and pants and consider tucking pant legs into socks, especially if you will be walking in tall grass or wooded areas. Also, use a tick repellant containing DEET, following the manufacturer’s instructions. For prolonged outdoor activities such as camping, look for clothing and camping gear that is treated with permethrin.
Upon returning home from a walk through the woods, time in the garden or camping, it’s important to perform a thorough tick check – from head to toe. If you find a tick on your body, remove it with a slow, steady pull so as not to break off the mouthparts and leave them in the skin. Then wash hands and bite site thoroughly with soap and water. Flush ticks down the toilet or wrap them tightly in tissue before disposing in a closed receptacle. If you suspect a tick bite, seek medical attention as soon as possible.