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Sonoma Family Life Magazine

Tick Talk

Jul 09, 2012 12:00AM

Spring has sprung, grasses are  are growing high and tick-bourn illnesses are on the rise. This is the prime season for tick activity, protect yourself and loved-ones with these helpful facts.

  • Ticks crawl up. They don’t jump, fly, or drop from trees onto your head and back. They (including deer ticks) come in small, medium and large sizes.
  • Ticks carry disease-causing microbes and infections are more common these days than in past decades. With increases in deer populations, extending even into semi-urban areas, the trend is for increasing spread of deer ticks and Lone Star ticks, can transmit disease-causing microbes including: Lyme disease bacteria, even encephalitis-causing viruses and others.
  • Only deer ticks transmit Lyme disease bacteria. The only way to get Lyme disease is by being bitten by a deer tick or one of its “cousins” found around the world.
  • For most tick-borne diseases, you have at least 24 hours to find and remove a feeding tick before it transmits an infection Even a quick daily tick check at bath or shower time can be helpful in finding and removing attached ticks before they can transmit an infection.
  • Deer tick nymphs look like a poppy seed on your skin And with about 1 out of 4 nymphal deer ticks carrying the Lyme disease spirochete and other nasty germs, it’s important to know what you’re really looking for.
  • The easiest and safest way to remove a tick is with a pointy tweezer. Using really pointy tweezers, it’s possible to grab even the poppy-seed sized nymphs right down next to the skin. The next step is to simply pull the tick out like a splinter.
  • Clothing with built-in tick repellent is an option for preventing tick bites. An easy way to avoid tick bites and disease is to wear clothing with tick repellent built in. Otherwise, long pants and knee socks are good way to deter ticks from reaching your skin.
  • Tick bites and tick-borne diseases are preventable. Reducing tick abundance in your yard, wearing tick repellent clothing every day, treating pets every month and getting into a habit of doing a quick body scan are all great actions for preventing tick bites.