Tick Bite Myths Busted
Tick season is here, so here are a few tick bite myths busted.
Now that the snow is gone for good (we hope) and we head outside to play or hike or up to the cabin for some summer fun, we need to be careful and check for ticks. Here are a few tick bite myths busted.
You Can Remove a Tick Without Tweezers
You should always remove a tick with tweezers and nothing else. If you discover a tick on yourself, partner or kids, grab the tick and, without twisting it, remove as much of it as you can. Dispose of the tick and then wash your hands very thoroughly with soap and then disinfect the tick bite area with rubbing alcohol.
You Know When You're Being Bitten
Ticks are not mosquitoes. Tick bites are painless. One of the signs of a tick bite is the red bull's eye, but not every one gets that. My dad was bitten by a tick and we didn't know it and he ended up with Lyme Disease. How do you know if you have Lyme Disease? You'll get flu-like symptoms and feel just terrible. My Dad was drained and ashen for weeks. The full extent of the infection may not be revealed for years as some of the long term effects of Lyme Disease are dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
Every Tick Will Give You a Disease
Not every tick carries a disease, but the disease carrying ticks are way more common than they used to be and that's because the deer tick population has exploded lately and deer ticks are the most likely to make you ill.
So, how do you prevent tick bites?
The Centers for Disease Control recommends to just avoid going into brushy areas, but if you're going to be walking in the woods, make sure you cover as much of yourself as you can and wear light colored clothing. Tuck your jeans into boots and wear long sleeved shirts and tuck those into your jeans. It's also a good idea to stay in the center of the trail you're walking and try to avoid high grass and leaf litter. Another important step in keeping ticks away is wearing a DEET based repellent.
When you come back inside, take a shower as soon as possible. When drying off, rub your body vigorously with your towel. If you don't have someone around to check for ticks, get in front of a full length mirror and inspect yourself. To do your back, use a hand held mirror. Don't skip this step. When checking kids, the CDC says "Parents should check their children for ticks under the arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button, behind the knees, between the legs, around the waist, and especially in their hair."
It's also important to examine gear and pets. Ticks can ride into the home on clothing and pets, then attach to a person later, so carefully examine pets, coats, and day packs. Tumble clothes in a dryer on high heat for an hour to kill remaining ticks.