Lyme Prevention, Do it!

The season has started. We are out and about and moving in the places where nature brings us. With the closer we get to nature we get, we need to consider the smaller hassles that can cause real problems.
Ticks are one such problem. I work in places that keep me along roadsides and such. it is April 08th, 2017 as I am writing this and I have already pulled 8 ticks off of me while working.
What to do, what to do??!!?! I love being outside and refuse to stop. Preventive measures and mitigation start with knowledge.

Tick ChartThe ticks in New England have been found to each cause a problem like Anaplasmosis, Lyme Disease, Ehrlichiosis, Babesiosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and more, not to include infection and complications from the bite itself.
This year is on the higher end of the cycle for ticks and we can expect to have more saturation and contact than usual.
“We’re anticipating 2017 to be a particularly risky year for Lyme,” says Rick Ostfeld, a disease ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, New York.

Your first line of defense is preventing exposure. What do we use??

Keep out fence
For the exposed areas of skin only work to move the tick around. If you don’t like dosing yourself with chemicals then products containing lemongrass, peppermint, cinnamon and other strong smelling natural ingredients have shown to be effective at deterring ticks. You have to be diligent about reapplying as they have limited effective time frames!
DEET!!! I love to hate this stuff and I don’t even know why but it works! The EPA says it is safe but there was a study once that showed it had some ill effects that sound more like intolerance or allergic reactions.
Picardin, if you hate DEET and don’t like the smell of lemongrass and eucalyptus, grab something with picardin in it!

Clothing treatment:
There is a way you can put your treatment on each and every time you go out without the hassle of spraying yourself every few hours.
Permethrin treated and permethrin impregnated clothing are an excellent option. Permethrin polymerizes to clothing and kills ticks. The home treatment can last for several washing and several weeks. The commercially treated clothing (due to saturation) can last up to 30+ washings and many months. Insect shield and bugs away are two company specific treatment names.

Tick Checks!
Wearing light colored clothing greatly helps when trying to spot ticks that may be on your clothing so wardrobe does play an important role while hiking or general outdoor activities.

Tick loaded lint rollerRemember to check yourself for ticks whenever you go out. often! Massachusetts Department of health has a great handout for doing tick checks. Remember, warm areas like behind your ears and armpits. Clothing checks can be made easier with a tape style lint roller.
You can always trap a tick in tape for disposal, if found.

OH NO!! You found a tick that is already embedded!
Tick removal with tweezers
You can remove it, using tweezers, grab firmly at the base where the head meets your skin. Take care not to crush the body or you could force the contents of the tick into the wound.

Other nifty gadgets are out there as well like a tick spoon! Spoon!!!!

a tick spoon

This device lets you slide the spoon under the tick and levering it out, removing all chance of crushing the body of the tick.

If you found a tick embedded and are concerned, you can submit a picture to the Tick Encounter Resource Center! Refer to the links for symptoms of Anaplasmosis, Lyme Disease, Ehrlichiosis, Babesiosis, and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Only about 70-80% of people exhibit the rash associated Lyme disease.

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Gary Metz

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