Tips and Tricks to Help Keep You Tick-Free This Summer
The North Country’s summer months include beautiful weather, plenty of outdoor activities, and the need to stay vigilant and take extra precautions to prevent tick bites and avoid tick-borne diseases.
What are Ticks and Where Do They Live?
Ticks are related to spiders and have eight legs. They have flat, oval bodies that swell when they eat. They are very small — even an adult tick is only about the size of an apple seed — which makes them difficult to spot. They feed on the blood of all kinds of animals and live throughout the world and are typically found outdoors, in wooded or grassy areas.
A few species of tick bite and can transmit diseases to humans.
How Do I Prevent Tick Bites?
Tick exposure can occur year-round, but ticks are most active during warmer months. While outdoors, it’s important to learn and follow some tips and tricks.
Dogs are very susceptible to tick bites and tick-borne diseases. Vaccines are not available for most of the tick-borne diseases that dogs can get, and they don’t keep the dogs from bringing ticks into your home. For these reasons it’s important to use a tick preventative product on your dog.
Tick bites on dogs may be hard to detect. Signs of tick-borne disease may not appear for 7-21 days or longer after a tick bite, so watch your dog closely for changes in behavior or appetite if you suspect that your pet has been bitten by a tick.
Talk to your veterinarian about:
To further reduce the chances that a tick bite will make your dog sick:
I Found a Tick, What Now?
If you find a tick attached to your skin, there’s no need to panic. It’s important to remove the tick as soon as possible. There are several tick removal devices on the market, but a set of fine-tipped tweezers work very well. Be sure to clean them with alcohol before use.
Using the tweezers, grab the tick as close to your skin as possible. Then pull it straight out with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick, as this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove them easily, leave them along and let the skin heal.
After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
Never crush a tick with your fingers. Dispose of a live tick by putting it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag or container, wrapping it tightly in tape, or flushing it down the toilet.
Once I’ve Had A Tick Bite, What Should I Look For?
Lyme disease is caused by bacteria and transmitted though the bite of infected Blacklegged Ticks. Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a particular skin rash called erythema migrans. The rash is red and patchy or can look like a bull’s eye with colors ranging from red to purple. The rashes can occur anywhere between 3 and 33 days after a tick bite.
You can also develop flu-like symptoms such as headache, aches and pains, muscle aches, joint pain, fevers and chills. Because of this, it’s important to pay attention to what’s going on with your body for several weeks after having a tick bite.
When Should I Contact My Health Care Provider?
If you develop a rash or fever within several weeks of removing a tick, you should see your health care provider. Be sure to tell them about your recent tick bite, when the bite occurred, and where you most likely acquired the tick.
If you aren’t able to remove the tick you should call your health care provider and have it removed. If the tick has been attached to you for at least 36 hours you should call your provider because you may need antibiotics.