Do you know what time of the year it is? It’s tick season!
Lately, since spring has come, when I work out in my garden or when my family goes on our weekend hikes, there have been ticks on our clothing and even on our dogs. Ticks are a health hazard and a real nuisance, not just for humans but also for our pets. There are, however, some actions that you can do to diminish this pest in the area you live and prevent it from impacting your lives.
Ticks are part of the arachnid family which also includes scorpions, spiders, and mites.
A tick attaches itself to animal and human skin, and sucks their blood. There are hundreds of kinds of ticks found throughout the world. The tick can cause terrible infections which impact serious health issues, including sepsis and even death, if not treated promptly. Ticks carry diseases such as Tularemia, Ehrlichiosis, Relapsing fever, Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Babesiosis, and Colorado tick fever; and pass them on to a host (people and animals).
It’s no wonder that we need to be knowledgeable about controlling the tick population and responsive to any bites.
Controlling The Tick Population Near You
There are a few significant variables that influence the number of ticks found where you live.
Usually, a mild winter and a large amount of moisture help increase the tick population. The egg is the start of the tick life cycle; each tick can, in turn, lay 2,000–18,000 eggs; so, it seems logical to try and reduce the number of eggs. Some ticks lay eggs on the ground outdoors in protected spots, while others lay them indoors, usually on carpet or other fabrics. Once you spot the eggs, you can spread some salt on top of them or burn them.
For example, spread salt on a carpeted area inside your house, simply wait about seven days and vacuum up the salt, or carry the rug outside and burn the eggs there.
The first thing to think about are your pets. Dogs and cats can easily bring ticks into your house or onto your property. There are flea and tick collars, medications, and shampoos that treat your pets to prevent them getting the ticks to begin with. There are also contact sprays that can be used on your property (landscape and lawn) to kill the ticks, so they can’t spread and eventually get on you, your pets, and into your house.
For example, Talstar kills the tick upon contact; there isn’t any residual, so it needs to be reapplied during the tick season for maximum protection.
The next time you venture into the woods to hike or camp, bring some insect repellent along. Deet is one repellent that repels ticks from your clothing, skin, etc. Look for a repellent that contains 10–30% Deet. Perhaps a better choice for treating clothing is permethrin, a synthetic insecticide sprayed on clothing and then left to dry. The product kills almost immediately, within 30 seconds of initial contact, and retains its effectiveness until the clothing items are washed.
There are also bracelets that you can buy that serve the same purpose. These are especially a good option if you are opposed to using chemicals. Subsonic devices can be used to repel the ticks through sound waves. In addition, there are several kinds of natural insect repellents, although they may not be as effective as synthetic repellents. Wearing long sleeves and long pants and tucking your pants into your socks will also prevent the ticks from getting on your skin.
How To React When Bit
In the event that you are bitten by a tick, you need to use caution in removing it, so not to leave its head buried under your skin.; which may likely cause an infection or more serious disease. There are some common techniques of helping to remove the tick carefully but have since been found to be counter protective. One typical way was to use a hot match head to burn the tick. But instead of releasing your skin, the tick has been found to dig even deeper into the skin. Another popular technique was to use fingernail polish or Vaseline and smother the tick. However, this made the tick dig deeper into the skin as well. The best choice is to wet a Q-tip and then press gently on the tick’s body and roll the tick in circles until it releases. Be careful not to squeeze the tick because the internal liquids may enter your bloodstream.
It’s important to know that ticks should be taken seriously as they can be dangerous. With the right precautions, you can continue to enjoy the outdoors and your favorite activities. Do your part to help control the tick population, treat your yard and your pets, and use a repellent on your body and clothing to repel the tick from the onset. Wear appropriate clothing outside especially in wooded areas. Check for ticks when your pets or you come indoors. And remember to remove any tick that is found immediately.
With these tips in mind, you can continue to relish your time spent outdoors!
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