If you work out-of-doors, or enjoy spending leisure time out of doors, be on the lookout for ticks. Preventing tick attachment and feeding, and rapid removal of attached ticks are crucial because ticks carry pathogens that can cause serious diseases, such as Lyme disease.
- Select campsites well away from rodent burrows where ticks like to hangout
- Inspect cabins and other temporary or infrequently used dwellings for signs of rodents and birds.
- Avoid transitional vegetation along where woodlands transition to grasslands or brushy areas.
- Where practical, enclosed sleeping quarters are best (i.e., closed doors and windows, window/tent screens; sealed tent floors and zippered openings).
Enjoy hiking or working in the yard?
- Use repellents to substantially increase protection.
- Ticks easily crawl under loose-fitting clothing, so wear protective clothing such as long pants tucked into footwear or socks.
- Wear light-colored clothing makes it easier to find ticks and removing them.
- Consider wearing permethrin-treated clothing is an important tick prevention tool.
After being outdoors, carefully inspect your body for crawling or attached ticks and remove them right away. A hot bath or shower can help remove crawling ticks, and clothing should be changed and washed. Routinely inspect children and pets for ticks.
When an attached tick is found, remove it immediately. The longer a tick remains attached, the more blood engorged it becomes, the more difficult it is to remove, and the more likely it is to transmit disease.
It’s important to remove an attached tick properly. Follow these procedures: (per U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention):
- Use medium-tipped forceps; Place tips around mouthparts where they enter the skin.
- Slowly and gently pull the tick away from the skin or slide forceps along the skin (follow device directions). Do not jerk, crush, squeeze or puncture the tick.
- Disinfect the bite site using standard procedures.
- Directly place tick in sealable container.
- If possible, save the tick alive for identification and disease testing. Place it in labeled (date, your name, geographic location, etc.), sealed bag or vial with a lightly moistened paper towel or even a few grass blades, then store at refrigerated temperature if possible.
- If forceps are unavailable, use index finger and thumb with rubber (latex) gloves, plastic or even a paper towel to prevent finger contamination.
- Wash your hands thoroughly after tick removal. Tick feces can contain pathogens so bare fingers can transfer these pathogens to cuts, abrasions, and nasal or eye mucous membranes.
If you remove an attached tick, be alert for any illness in the following, including fatigue, fever, muscle ache, skin rashes, and/or a general feeling on malaise. Seek prompt medical attention as needed.