Safety at Steigerwaldt: Ticks
Happy May everyone! May is National Lyme Disease Awareness Month, and there is no better time to talk about ticks.
This long winter is finally coming to an end, and warmer days are ahead. As we are all eager to get outside to enjoy the weather, so are mosquitoes, black flies, deer flies, and most importantly, TICKS!
Unlike the mosquito, ticks are sneaky, and in many cases, you do not even know they are biting you. It is important to do a tick check each and every time you come out of the wood or even inside from your yard.
Now, let’s begin our tick talk.
- Ticks are most active in the spring and early summer months but can be present as long as it is
- They prefer grassy, warm fields but are present in any environment.
- They can be dangerous in all stages of their lives, from a small nymph to a large adult.
- There are different types of ticks such as the wood tick, deer tick, and lone star tick found in southern states.
What makes these arachnids so dangerous?
- They all have the potential to carry Lyme disease, an illness that can make you very sick and weak. There are several indicators that you may have it.
1. Forming of a bullseye red rash where the tick bit you
2. Flu-like symptoms and weakness
- If you experience these symptoms, contact a health professional to begin possible antibiotic treatment. Do not wait it out.
Some people never get Lyme disease after a tick bite, but if you do, don’t worry. Most who contract the disease will recover.
How do you properly remove an embedded tick?
- When removing a tick, it is important to ensure the entire specimen is removed from your skin in order to minimize infection.
- To remove, find a pair of tweezers, and pinch the head of the tick as close to your skin as you can. Then, pull up. After removal, make sure the head of the tick is still attached to the specimen, and sanitize the area of contact.
- If the tick was attached for a long period of time, it can be helpful to circle the area with a sharpie and keep an eye on it for signs of infection.
To avoid ticks, tuck in your clothes when in the woods, and use a bug spray or treat your clothes with permethrin.
For more details on prevention, symptoms, and care, visit Lymedisease.org.
Enjoy the outdoors this summer, but remember to always do a tick check!
– Nate Loeffler, Forester