Happy Friday from the Health Office!
The warm weather has arrived! Spending time outdoors in wooded or grassy areas can put you at risk for getting a tick bite. Taking steps to prevent tick bites is the best way to prevent disease.
Tick are vectors (typically a biting insect or arachnid that transmits disease). Did you know that ticks are arachnids and not insects? Tick bites can cause Lyme disease but also other diseases such as Babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Southern tick associated rash, Tick-borne relapsing fever and Tularemia depending on where you live.
Ticks live in grassy, brushy, or wooded areas, or even on animals, so spending time outside camping, gardening, or hunting could bring you in close contact with ticks. Many people actually get ticks in their own yard or neighborhood. Backlegged ticks (that cause Lyme disease) live in moist and humid areas in or near wood or grassy areas.
- To avoid ticks, walk in the middle of trails and avoid walking through brush or tall grass. Ticks inhabit vegetation such as leaf litter and shrubs often near wooded or grassy areas.
- Wear DEET repellant (20% or more) or permethrin 0.5%. Permethrin can be used on gear, clothes, boots, pants, socks, and tents and can remain protective through several washings. DEET can be applied directly to skin and offers protection for up to several hours. Avoid hands, eyes, mouth when applying. Do not use on infants under two (2) months old.
- Wear light colored clothing so that you can see ticks crawling on clothing and can remove them easily.
- Tuck pant legs into socks and spray shoes, socks, and pants with DEET. This is especially advisable if walking in through brush, vegetation, tall grass, and leaf litter. This will prevent the ticks from crawling up your pant leg.
- Do daily body checks for ticks using a hand-held or a long mirror to view all parts of your body after being outdoors. Make sure to check:
- under the arms
- in and around the ears
- inside belly button
- back of the knees
- in and around the head and body hair
- under the arms
- skin folds of upper thighs and between legs
- around waist and abdominal rolls
- scalp and hair
- Check pets for ticks because pets may carry ticks into the house.
- Put clothes into a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks.
- Reduce ticks in your yard by creating areas which are mulched, gravel covered, keeping vegetation well away from social and play areas.
- Physical barriers and removal of plants that attract deer may help discourage deer from entering and bringing ticks to your yard.
- Consult your pet’s veterinarian for the best way to control ticks on your pets. There are many effective medications for this.
What to do if you get a tick bite
- Remove the tick immediately and carefully using fine tweezers. Grasp the tick close to the point where the tick is attached to the skin.
- The contents of the ticks body may contain disease so use care not to get the contents on bare skin by using gloves, or paper towels when removing the tick. Do not squash the tick after removal. Dispose of the tick in your trash.
- Wash the affected site where the tick was removed with soap and water. Monitor the site for infection as with any wound. If it becomes red, painful, swells or has drainage contact your physician. If the mouth of the tick remains and cannot be removed by tweezers it will generally work its way out of the body like a splinter. Contact your physician if you have concerns.
- DO NOT use any of the old wives tales for removing ticks such as flame, hot match, Vaseline, or gasoline. These do not work and may irritate the tick causing it to release disease laden stomach contents into the host’s body. The objective is to remove the tick as soon as possible to prevent the deposit of its stomach contents into the host thus preventing the transmission of disease.
- Contact your health care provider if you have rash, fever, joint pain or other symptoms of illness following a tick bite. Symptoms may take several weeks to appear. Signs and Symptoms of Untreated Lyme Disease
- Another helpful tip is to save the tick after removing it from your body: Place the tick in a plastic bag and write the date, location of bite and the amount of time the tick may have been embedded on the bag. Place in the freezer. If symptoms of illness appear this may help your healthcare provider.
- If you would like to have the tick tested for Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterium that is believed to cause Lyme disease, or for other tick-borne diseases please contact the UMASS Extension Service. More information about tick identification and testing can be found HERE.
Simple landscaping techniques to help reduce tick populations:
- Remove leaf litter.
- Clear tall grasses and brush around homes and at the edge of lawns.
- Place a 3-ft wide barrier of wood chips or gravel between lawns and wooded areas to restrict tick migration into recreational areas.
- Mow the lawn frequently.
- Stack wood neatly and in a dry area (discourages rodents).
- Keep playground equipment, decks, and patios away from yard edges and trees.
- Discourage unwelcome animals (such as deer, raccoons, and stray dogs) from entering your yard by constructing fences.
- Remove old furniture, mattresses, or trash from the yard that may give ticks a place to hide.
Check out more information on ticks at CDC: Tickborne Diseases of the United States
Thank You Notes
- Thank you to the family of Timothy Shannon for the donation of tissues and cough drops!
- Thank you to the family of James Phelps for the donation of tissues!
- Thank you to the family of Kayla Freeman for the donation of tissues!
- Thank you to the anonymous donor for the donation of tissues and cough drops!
Your donations are greatly appreciated
as well as needed to help care for the students and staff here at Parker.
- Healthy Snacks (Granola bars, peanut butter crackers)
- Hand Sanitizer
Be well - Smile often - Stay healthy!
Warm Regards, Lisa
Liza Zick, BSN, RN
Office Hours: 8:15 AM - 3:45 PM
(Weds until 2:15 PM)
Phone: 978-772-3293 x135