Ticks are tiny bugs that, unfortunately, like to feed on humans! Deer ticks are common in this area and they sometimes transmit Lyme disease, a potentially serious bacterial infection. Our mild winter set us up for a large tick population this summer. It is important to protect yourself and your children from Lyme disease.
The best way to avoid Lyme disease is to avoid tick bites. The following are some suggestions to minimize exposure to Lyme disease:
Ticks prefer wooded and bushy areas with high grass and a lot of leaf litter. These are areas to avoid.
Take extra precautions in May, June, and July. This is when most infections occur.
If you do enter a tick area, walk in the center of the trail to avoid contact with overgrown grass, brush, and leaf litter.
Cover up. Wear long pants, long sleeves, and long socks. Light-colored clothing will help you spot ticks more easily. Tucking pant legs into socks or boots and tucking shirts into pants help keep ticks on the outside of clothing.
Apply insect repellant with 30 percent DEET on skin and clothing when you go outdoors. Don’t spray repellent on skin under clothing.
Permethrin sprayed on clothing kills ticks on contact and provides protection through several washings. Don’t use perm0ethrin on skin.
Remove ticks from your clothes before going indoors
Wash your clothes with hot water and dry them using high heat for at least one hour.
Check your body and your child’s body after being outdoors
Even in your own yard. Use a mirror to view all parts of your body (in armpits, behind ears, in groin, etc.) and remove any ticks you find.
If you find a tick on yourself or your child:
If you find a tick attached to your skin, there's no need to panic. There are several tick removal devices on the market, but a plain set of fine-tipped tweezers will remove a tick quite effectively.
How to remove a tick
Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin's surface as possible.
Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don't twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.
After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.
Avoid folklore remedies such as "painting" the tick with nail polish or petroleum jelly, or using heat to make the tick detach from the skin. Your goal is to remove the tick as quickly as possible--not waiting for it to detach.
For more information about ticks and Lyme disease follow this Department of Health link: http://healthvermont.gov/prevent/zoonotic/tickborne/Tickborne_diseases.aspx