Last time, dear readers, we talked about how ticks attached themselves to you and were often a carrier of disease. But I left you hanging about what to do about them. Several Readers also mentioned that ticks have been found to carry diseases like Lyme disease, that are not as well known, these are called Babesiosis (a parasite disease of the blood) and Ehrlichiosis (a bacterial disease).
Well, ticks, no matter what kind, are insects, and, like most insects, do not like extremes, that is very dry or very wet, so ticks are mostly looking for you when it is most comfortable for them… that also means you. They don’t like the hottest, driest part of the day. They also don’t like a full out rain shower but a nice cool morning with a little bit of dew is just fine with them. They tend to hang out in bushy or weedy areas and attach themselves when you brush against them.
So, how can you make yourself tick-proof?
- Avoid narrow, brushy or weedy trails
- Walk in the middle of the trails so as not to touch the brush and weeds
- First Wear light-colored clothing so you can see them if they get on you. It also seems to be something they do not like.
- Wear long sleeves and long pants, and tuck your pants into your boots or rubber band them to your boots.
- Try Bug repellent, DEET seems to help in some studies.
- When you get back inside, take a shower and use a fluffy thing like my daughters use in the shower (they tell me it helps your skin) since it helps scrap the ticks off.
- Check each other and see if you can find any ticks remaining (this can be fun if done with the right partner!), but seriously, carefully check any area that has hair. This can be hard if you have teenage children, who are very body conscious. If several ticks have been found, do what you can and some how they should be checked. I would do the same as if I were alone and use mirrors.
- After your shower, change to new clothes.
Now, what do you do if you find a tick on you? If the tick is crawling around, use a piece of tape to capture it and fold it up in(they are very hard to kill and the tape holds them securely and it is also much more “green” than flushing them down the toilet.) If it has attached, then you have a problem. It seems doctors (even at my own hospital) are divided, so I will give you both methods of removal and you can decide for yourself.
- First Method, take a water-based lube like KY jelly and smear it all over the tick, if needed kind of prod it or swirl with a Q-tip. Wait for the tick to crawl away and then entomb it in tape.
- Second Method, take a small or fine set of tweezers and grasp the head where it is attached to the skin and pull, or twist it out. Again, put it in tape and throw it away.
In both cases, after the tick is out, wash the area with soap and water then cover with an antibiotic ointment and dressing (read Bandaid). Then something that is really important…. mark the date on a calander and watch the site of the bite for the next 2 weeks if it develops a bulls eye type pattern around the bite at any time Please go to your doctor. Also if in the next few months you develop any unexplained illness, fatigue or rash tell your doctor that you have been bitten by a Tick.
With a little planning and some common sense you won’t have your trip ruined by ticks and can save yourself from some serious illness!
Your Obedient Servant,
Gary Smith, Jr.