Ticks are often associated with the forested regions of the United States, and those who find themselves wandering the woodlands with bug spray in hand often expect these creatures in the brush. However, these pesky and dangerous insects have been found in abundance near beaches in Northern California, as research from the Bay Area Lyme Foundation notes that the Western black-legged tick known to cause Lyme disease has begun inhabiting these areas known to be great vacation spots, containing a higher concentration of infection of at least 31%. Tick-borne diseases have been on the record as winter’s become warmer and the summer heat lingers, so weeks of outdoor activity can potentially result in a higher percentage of Babesiosis, Anaplasmosis, and Lyme disease infections.
Avoid The ER With These Tick-Repelling Tips
As tick season approaches with the warmth of the summer, it’s essential to do everything you can to avoid ticks. Because these ticks cannot fly or jump, these creatures can only cause illness if they appear directly on your skin. Most often found in grassy, bushy, or wooden areas, ticks can appear anywhere where there’s a warm, humid environment for them to thrive in. To avoid the risk of illness, here’s what you can do to protect yourself this summer from ticks:
- Daily Tick Checks: Performing daily tick checks after spending time outdoors is the single most important thing you can do to protect yourself. If you notice a tick that’s bitten you, remove it immediately. When checking your body, check under the arms, around the ears, inside the belly button, behind the knees, and check your hair. Check using a mirror for hard-to-see places, and visit an urgent care center if you believe you’ve been bitten for more than a few minutes while outside.
- Insect Repellents: To prevent the possibility of tick bites, purchase an EPA-approved insect repellent. Treat your body and clothes with this insect repellent, and you can also treat or buy clothes that contain permethrin, a pesticide that will protect you with several washings.
- Taking A Shower: Taking a shower after being outside is a great way to check your body for ticks and wash off any unattached ticks. When coming home from being outdoors, taking a shower within two hours will reduce your risk of Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses.
- Check Clothes and Gear: When removing your clothes, check your clothes for any unwanted ticks and remove them by running your clothes through your dryer on high heat for 10 minutes. The high heat will kill the ticks, and if your clothes are dirty, then cleaning them on a hot water cycle will also work to kill the ticks.
- Perform Pet Checkups: Use tick prevention medications prescribed by your veterinarian and perform daily pet checks to protect you and your family from any signs of ticks. Specifically, check around the legs, under the collar, around the ears, and between the toes.
- Care For Your Backyard: Remove tall grass, treating your lawn with a tick control solution, and keeping deer away can be some efforts to help remove the chance of ticks coming into your backyard.
What To Do If You Notice Symptoms Associated With Tick Bite
Always monitor your symptoms if you’ve been bitten by a tick. If you notice any signs of rash, fever, headaches, joint swelling, and muscle pain, visit your doctor or urgent care center for diagnosis and potential treatment. Removing the tick sooner than later will decrease your risk of Lyme disease.