Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Ticks & Lyme Disease
With summer now here I thought I'd share some info on Lyme Disease & ticks. Sometimes you don't need to be in the woods to pick up a tick, they can be almost anywhere other animals travel through. Lyme Disease is primarily carried by Deer Ticks, but those ticks can attach themselves to other host animals. I've had the kids pick up ticks just a few feet from our house and not in the woods out back. Ticks like warm dark places, so they will attach along your ankle, under your sock; behind the ears or along the hairline; and around the edges of your clothing. Since most of us tend to use sunscreen and insect repellent during the day it is a good idea to check for ticks each night when you shower off. Especially check your kids and pets. Household pets can easily carry ticks into the house. If you have a tick the best way to remove it is to use a pair of tweezers or a tick removing device (a fancy pair of tweezers). Grasp the tick as close to the head as you can and gently pull it out. There are a lot of 'old wives tales' methods of removal that may or may not work, but this is the easiest and less likely to scare a child. Then just flush the tick down the toilet or flick it into the woods. If you check daily they are easy to remove. If they are in for a few days they can be harder to remove and you may need to go to your doctors office to have it removed. Signs of tick bite infection are similar to any other open wound infection. Redness, swelling, pain and sometimes a bullseye pattern. The best way to treat a tick bite is to prevent it. If you're going to be near a wooded area wear light long sleeved and long panted clothing and check for ticks frequently. Use insect repellent and reapply as needed. Checking yourself and your kids frequently is the easiest way to prevent Lyme Disease.