Tick Bites: Prevention and Secure Removing

As spring and summer time method and we spend extra time exterior, we additionally threat encountering ticks. Sadly, ticks aren’t simply biting bugs (technically, they don’t chunk -they sting). However they’re additionally infamous vectors for sicknesses like Lyme illness and Rocky Mountain noticed fever. 

Understanding learn how to stop tick bites is essential for staying protected throughout outside adventures. Right here’s learn how to avoid tick bites and benefit from the nice outside worry-free.

Are Tick Bites Harmful?

In a phrase, sure. At the very least, they definitely will be! Many people are conscious of the seriousness and widespread epidemic of Lyme illness, which is now extra frequent than breast most cancers. Whereas it’s doable to contract Lyme in different methods, black-legged ticks are overwhelmingly accountable. Lyme illness comes from spirochete (spiral-shaped) micro organism known as Borrelia burgdorferi.

Different much less frequent tick-borne infections embrace noticed fever rickettsiosis (together with Rocky Mountain noticed fever), anaplasmosis, and babesiosis. There’s additionally ehrlichiosis, Colorado tick fever, and tularemia. It’s even doable to get tick-borne encephalitis, aka, mind irritation.

Many of those infections trigger the identical signs as Lyme illness. Though these are much less frequent than Lyme, they’re chargeable for a number of thousand circumstances of tick-related sickness in the US every year.

Lyme illness could cause all kinds of signs. Some individuals develop a persistent fever, rashes, or complications. Others have persistent joint ache and swelling which may be misdiagnosed. Those that are particularly delicate might have allergic reactions to the micro organism. Some might even develop extreme or debilitating neurological issues. 

Lyme illness is an particularly troubling situation as a result of it may be tough to diagnose. Dr. Jay Davidson explains extra on this podcast.

The place Are Ticks a Drawback?

Circumstances of tick-borne illness are likely to cluster across the northeastern United States. Nonetheless, in keeping with the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC), at the very least one case of Lyme illness has occurred in each state. Take a look at this map of circumstances reported by the CDC from 1990 by means of 2021.

Rhode Island, Vermont, and Maine have the very best incidence price of Lyme circumstances. Knowledge from 2022 exhibits a mean of about 200 circumstances per 100,000 individuals occurred in these three states. Midwestern states are additionally experiencing elevated circumstances lately. 

However Lyme isn’t restricted to the Northeast and the Midwest. As of 2015, virtually half the counties in the US reported the presence of black-legged ticks. The CDC continues to watch the upward pattern.

Lyme illness is continuous to unfold to different states, so be proactive and do what you’ll be able to to scale back your probabilities of tick bites. The spring and summer time are the very best threat, as ticks are busy hatching and on the lookout for their subsequent meal. 

Verify for Ticks

Engorged ticks are simple to identify, however some will be as small as a pinhead. They like to cover in heat, moist, lined areas of the physique. 

First, bathe off to take away any unattached ticks. Then, fastidiously examine for ticks by completely analyzing the hair and again of the neck, utilizing your fingertips. Listed here are another locations ticks like to cover out:

  • Behind arms
  • Behind the knees
  • In or across the ears
  • Stomach button
  • Between the legs
  • Across the waist

Moderately than play naturalist, I’ll level you to the very best tick identification software I’ve discovered. This helpful chart that includes photos of ticks permits you to kind by area, sort, maturity levels, feeding levels, and even by the illnesses numerous kinds of ticks might transmit. The deer tick (black-legged tick) is the primary one to look out for, however it’s not the one one which causes issues.

What to Do If You Discover a Tick

I’ll always remember the day I leaned in to take a look at a darkish spot on my child’s head, solely to discover a TICK feasting on her scalp. I want I may say I remained composed and knew precisely what to do, however that wasn’t the case in any respect…

After just a few extra youngsters, I nonetheless don’t like coping with ticks, however I’ve discovered what to do once I encounter one. In the event you’re a seasoned mother or father or have pets, you’ve seemingly confronted this case earlier than. Nonetheless, in the event you haven’t, right here’s what to do:

Verify to see if the tick is hooked up. In the event you spot a small, flat tick crawling in your garments, pores and skin, or flooring, it’s a great signal, because it seemingly hasn’t bitten anybody or fed not too long ago. Nonetheless, in the event you encounter a big tick with a swollen, spherical physique, it’s extra regarding as it might have already fed and indifferent from a pet or individual within the residence.

If unattached, don’t attempt to kill it. If the tick is unattached, resist the urge to crush, burn, or destroy it. (It’s exhausting, I do know.) Don’t contact the tick along with your naked arms. As an alternative, use tweezers or a bit of tape to seize it. Put the tick in a sealed plastic bag or small jar within the freezer. This each kills the tick and preserves it for identification if signs of Lyme illness develop.

If hooked up, right here’s what to do (and to not do): 

How NOT to Take away a Tick

There are many residence treatment options for tick elimination, however these might do extra hurt than good. Burning the tick, utilizing important oils, or greasing it with petroleum jelly might sound like good concepts. Nonetheless, these methods can irritate the tick, making issues worse.

I don’t care a few tick’s emotions, but when the tick is irritated, it could vomit the contents of its abdomen (pathogens included!) into the pores and skin. That’s precisely what we don’t wish to occur!

For years, the correct tick elimination code has been to make use of a pair of fine-tipped tweezers and pull it straight out. Whereas this may work, it could additionally depart the tick’s head or mouth-parts embedded within the pores and skin. 

(Sidenote: I can not let you know the variety of occasions I’ve felt an invisible tick crawling on me whereas penning this submit!)

What to Do As an alternative: Secure Tick Removing 

As an alternative, use a tick-removal system like this one. It resembles a spork. You insert it between the tick and the pores and skin, then twist gently till the tick releases. I maintain one on my keychain throughout tick season.

In contrast to the tweezer methodology, this system is more likely to end in a clear elimination. The prongs on both aspect assist make sure the tick mouth doesn’t bend too far to the aspect and snap off whereas rotating.

In the event you don’t have a tick elimination software, use tweezers, however make sure you seize the tick as near the top/mouth as doable.

Take away a Tick

  1. First, attempt to ignore the super-mom adrenaline pumping by means of your physique!
  2. Strategy the tick from the aspect with a tick system or tweezers.
  3. Slide the notched tick elimination system beneath the bottom of the tick head and the pores and skin. If utilizing tweezers, apply them firmly as near the mouth/pores and skin as doable.
  4. With a agency, slight lifting movement, gently spin the tick remover till the tick detaches itself. If utilizing tweezers, pull up firmly however repeatedly. Don’t jerk or twist.
  5. Put the tick in a sealed bag, mark it with the date, and put it within the freezer. This kills it and saves it for identification if Lyme signs come up.
  6.  Guarantee that there aren’t any tick components left embedded within the pores and skin. If there are, pulling it out with tweezers like a splinter or utilizing a drawing salve will be useful.
  7.  Wash the chunk space with cleaning soap and water and apply an antimicrobial, like rubbing alcohol, to the realm. Diluted lavender or this germ-fighting important oil mix are additionally good choices.

How/The place to Ship a Tick For Testing

Testing for tick-borne sickness in people is often inaccurate. The ELISA take a look at sometimes run by healthcare suppliers in native clinics typically comes again adverse when different assessments present an an infection. In truth, it might miss over half of all Lyme circumstances. A Western Blot take a look at could also be extra correct, however solely when interpreted by totally different requirements than the CDC’s. 

One of the crucial trusted laboratories for Lyme illness testing is Igenex.. Along with Lyme, in addition they display for different tick-borne sicknesses. One instance is ehrlichiosis, which targets white blood cells. One other is babesiosis, which impacts pink blood cells. In addition they take a look at for infections like anaplasmosis and Rocky Mountain noticed fever. These co-infections can manifest signs much like Lyme illness. 

For a extra budget-friendly various, there’s Vibrant Wellness. Whereas corresponding to Igenex, it comes at a decrease price. Vibrant Wellness affords complete Lyme panels. They will detect totally different borrelia species in addition to co-infections frequent with Lyme illness. These firms enable sufferers to request a house take a look at or ship the tick (useless or alive) to have it examined for infections. 

Likelihood is seemingly that each one will probably be nicely if the an infection is caught early and dealt with correctly. However that stated, right here’s what to search for: 

Signs of Tick-Borne Sickness

Based on the CDC, doable signs of a tick-borne an infection are:

  • A relapsing fever and chills (flu-like signs)
  • Achy joints or muscle aches
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • A big round rash that appears like a bullseye across the chunk web site (known as erythema migrans)

The bullseye rash doesn’t at all times happen, so it’s crucial to test for different signs. Kids will generally develop tick paralysis, which causes momentary numbness and tingling. For an entire checklist of signs, see the CDC’s tick web page

Dr. Jay Davidson provides {that a} sore sternum (the bone over the breast) could also be one other signal of contracting Lyme.

In the event you suspect tick-related sickness, seek the advice of with a physician instantly, as early intervention might assist. Dr. Davidson recommends taking Ledum palustre, a homeopathic treatment, as a pure first support. Another choice is to use andrographis tincture on the recent chunk to assist stop illness transmission all through the physique. 

Tick Prevention Is the Greatest Remedy (for Now)

You may take some preventative measures to keep away from ticks within the first place, decreasing your threat of tick- and different insect bites. The choices for battling ticks aren’t good (particularly in the event you desire to keep away from chemical substances, as I do), and I can solely hope we’ve got extra choices for controlling the Lyme outbreak on the horizon. 

Till then, listed here are a few of the steps we are able to take at the moment to let our youngsters go adventuring with out fear:

1. Tick-Proof Your Yard

It’s in all probability no shock that I don’t suggest skilled chemical sprays for the yard, even to scale back ticks. Whereas many firms tout this as “protected,” if it kills ticks, it in all probability isn’t good to your pets or youngsters, not to mention the surroundings and different innocent bugs in your yard.

There are fairly just a few logical (and pure) steps to discourage ticks:

  • Hold the grass quick. Ticks are generally present in lawns, significantly in areas with tall grass, dense vegetation, and leaf litter. Hold your garden well-maintained by mowing repeatedly and eradicating tall grass, brush, and leaf litter.
  • Prune dense landscaping. Trim again overhanging branches and prune shrubs to permit extra daylight to succeed in the bottom. Ticks desire shaded, humid environments, so rising daylight publicity could make the garden much less hospitable for them.
  • Mulch with cedar chips. Research present ticks and cedar oil don’t combine. Since ticks crawl and don’t fly, attempt mulching the perimeter of your yard with cedar chips or between your yard and grassy areas to discourage them from crossing.
  • Strive including nematodes. Nematodes are microscopic worms which might be pure tick predators. You should buy them on-line or at backyard shops and introduce them into your yard, backyard, or surrounding wooded areas whereas watering. Don’t fear — They’re non-toxic and don’t hurt useful bugs like ladybugs. However they could be a massive assist in controlling tick populations.
  • Contemplate Tick Tubes: Tick tubes are cardboard cylinders crammed with handled cotton that mice carry again to their nests. The handled cotton kills ticks on the mice, decreasing the chance of ticks attaching to people.
  • Get yard chickens! In addition to offering recent eggs, they eat ticks! Chickens are pure foragers and can peck at bugs they encounter, together with ticks. They may help scale back ticks within the areas surrounding your own home.

2. Use Pure Bug Repellent

Though the EWG (Environmental Working Group) concludes DEET is a moderately protected choice at decrease concentrations, it’s not advisable for pregnant ladies or youngsters underneath six months. Many research additionally level to doable unwanted side effects from utilizing DEET and different insect repellents like permethrin, together with dizziness, complications, and even seizures.

Whereas I take ticks and the specter of Lyme illness severely, I favor utilizing pure bug repellents, particularly since research present important oils like citronella will be as efficient as DEET. My pure bug spray recipe makes use of a number of important oils proven in research to repel ticks: geranium, citronella, and lemon eucalyptus.

Pure bug repellent is particularly helpful (and efficient) for repelling these tiny nymph ticks you can not see in a tick test. In any case, it’s higher to be distasteful to ticks so that you don’t get bitten within the first place!

Taking sure herbs as a complement might assist from the within out. Astragalus is an herb from Conventional Chinese language Drugs that will assist repel ticks whereas supporting the immune system. Lyme professional Stephen Buhner recommends adults take 1,000 mg of Astragalus day by day to push back ticks.

3. Verify for Ticks Every day

I do know it’s not enjoyable, however, with observe, it turns into a behavior. Put a full-length mirror within the rest room, and/or train youngsters to test themselves and one another. The black-legged tick nymph most frequently transmits Lyme illness, and it’s solely concerning the measurement of a poppy seed. That is probably the most complete checklist I’ve discovered for learn how to conduct a full tick test.

I do know it’s not simple to get youngsters to cease what they’re doing and sit nonetheless, so we construct it into the routine earlier than lunch, dinner, and bedtime, together with the wash arms/brush tooth step. This web site has a free exercise e-book for educating younger youngsters learn how to test for ticks.

4. Apply Good Climbing Hygiene

Ticks love wooded trails, tall grassy fields, and areas with dense brush.

However I refuse to let ticks spoil our love for mountaineering, tenting, and simply being outside in the summertime. Be sensible when mountaineering and observe the following tips for avoiding ticks:

  • Put on protecting clothes: Put on long-sleeved shirts when mountaineering in a high-tick space and tuck pants into socks. This observe may help stop ticks from crawling onto uncovered pores and skin. Gentle-colored clothes additionally helps make ticks extra seen.
  • Select excessive boots slightly than athletic footwear: Once more, you’ll wish to keep away from simply accessible pores and skin. 
  • Put on a wide-brimmed hat: Extensive-brimmed hats can maintain ticks from crawling from tall brush onto the again of your neck or hair.
  • Contemplate permethrin clothes: I don’t love the thought of utilizing chemical substances, however I really like the thought of Lyme illness even much less! Permethrin is an artificial model of a pure insecticide present in chrysanthemum flowers. It kills ticks on contact and could also be price contemplating for these adventuring in high-risk areas.
  • Keep on the paths: Ticks love the comb and tall grass. They’re simply ready so that you can enterprise off into the rugged terrain!
  • Do an after-hike tick test: Verify for ticks earlier than getting within the automotive after a hike, or use a sticky lint curler on garments to catch tiny ticks.
  • Head to the laundry room! Take away mountaineering garments and put them instantly within the dryer for 10 minutes on excessive warmth to kill ticks.
  • End up with a great soak: Bathe or bathe as quickly as doable after mountaineering. Make sure to take action inside 2 hours of coming inside.

It would appear to be a wierd household exercise, however we maintain robes within the mudroom! That approach, we are able to strip off after mountaineering, throw every part within the dryer, and head proper for the showers.

5. Shield Pets

Pets are additionally prone to tick-borne illnesses, and it’s typically tougher to find ticks due to all that fur. Verify canines and cats completely earlier than permitting them in the home. You may as well attempt making use of just a few drops of geranium important oil round a canine’s collar however don’t use this methodology (or any important oils) on cats.

Closing Ideas

Whereas these strategies may help scale back your threat of tick bites, it’s nonetheless vital to do common tick checks, particularly throughout peak tick season (Might by means of August). In the event you discover a tick hooked up to your pores and skin, take away it instantly –the fitting approach– to scale back your threat of tick-borne illnesses. In the event you do develop signs, like rash, fever, or muscle aches, search medical consideration instantly.

Have you ever ever had a tick chunk? What did you do? Do you’ve different concepts to forestall them?

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