With a tick season of unprecedented proportions ahead of us, it’s more important than ever to protect yourself and your children against possible bites. Here is a list of basic precautions you can take, as recommended by the National Capitol Lyme Disease Association.
1. When walking in woods, avoid tick-infested areas when possible. Stay in the center of trails, avoiding contact with overhanging grass and brush, while walking in the woods. Trails are less attractive areas for ticks to live than dense underbrush.
2. Wear light-coloured clothing, long sleeves and pants, and tuck pants into socks. Wear a hat and tie back long hair to make it harder for ticks to attach to your scalp.
3. When walking or working in the woods for an extended period, use duct tape wrapped inside out around the ankles to trap ticks attempting to crawl up your legs.
4. Wear EPA-approved repellents appropriate for adult skin or children. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application carefully; some repellents are designed for application to clothes and equipment only.
5. After spending time outdoors where you might have been exposed to ticks, make sure you get undressed in a dry bathtub so you can spot ticks that fall off clothing. Immediately shower using a washcloth to knock off any unattached ticks and DO A ROUTINE TICK CHECK on yourself and children. Check dark, moist areas, hair and scalp, behind ears and knees, elbows, underarms, skin folds and the groin area. Though it may take time to institute tick checks into your family routine, over time it can become as simple as daily tooth brushing.
Although many people believe the classic “bull’s-eye” rash to be the indicator of a Lyme-infected tick bite, fewer than 50% of people who develop Lyme disease remember getting the rash. There are a range of symptoms that can indicate a Lyme infection, some of which include:
If you’ve been in an area that ticks favour—woods, tall grass, dense underbrush, and you begin to experience any of these symptoms, make sure you tell your physician you’ve been in high-risk exposure areas.
For tips on how to safely remove ticks, visit: http://www.natcaplyme.org/prevention/proper-tick-removal.html