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PREPARE YOUR FAMILY AND PETS FOR TICK SEASON

As each spring and summer approaches, concerns about tick-borne illnesses will surely increase. You are not powerless. Take precautions to avoid ticks, tick bites, and the diseases they can cause.

Ticks love to bite animals and people to feed on their blood and they provide a deluge of tick-borne diseases including but not limited to Lyme disease.   For detailed info on Lyme disease check out this article  

Other diseases that ticks bring are:

•  Anaplasmosis

•  Rocky Mountain spotted fever

•  Babesiosis (Texas fever)

•  Ehrlichiosis (primarily transmitted by the lone star tick)

•  Tularemia

•  Colorado tick fever

•  Powassan (a form of encephalitis)

The only foolproof way to avoid ticks altogether is to avoid those areas where they may be encountered- typically the high brush or grass of wooded areas- especially in the late spring and summer months. If you find yourself in an area where ticks are common, wear long pants and tuck them into your socks. Wear white, so that ticks can be more easily seen if crawling on you. Examine your skin when you return from the woods and brush off any ticks you see walking about -- removing them before they attach and bite may help prevent disease.   Repellants that contains DEET, applied to the skin and/or clothes, are effective at keeping ticks off of your skin and reducing the chance that they will bite. Examine and brush your dog so that any ticks can be removed before they can bite you.

If a tick attaches itself to you, follow this procedure to safely remove it ASAP.

  1. With fine tweezers, grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible; avoid squeezing the tick's body and don't use your bare hands to do this.
  2. While applying constant pressure, pull the tick away from the skin.
  3. Wash the site well with soap and water, alcohol and/or an iodine-containing cleanser.

Do not use a match to try and remove the tick!   This removal method is a myth perpetuated by generations of campers, families, and friends.   The problem with the hot match approach is that the tick may burrow more deeply into the skin and the match can burn the skin.   In addition, irritating the tick in this way may provoke it to release more saliva or its intestinal contents, increasing the chances of transmitting infection.

Check out this link for more detailed removal information:

http://www.lyme.org/ticks/removal.html

Another effective method of tick removal that has been tried on pets is to rub the tick in a circular motion and pretend you're trying to make the tick dizzy.   It is best to stick with one direction, clockwise. It usually takes less than a minute, so if it's not working, make sure the body of the tick is moving around.   This link explains this procedure more and provides a demonstration video proving its effectiveness.

 

By being aware of how to handle ticks, you can take steps to avoid contracting the many diseases they transmit.