by Shari Sullivan
It’s tick season here in Alabama and all over this beautiful country where we love to be outside enjoying the warmer weather and everything nature offers. Everything, that is, except ticks! Ticks can be found in every state in the United States during warmer months, and according to the American Kennel Club, they are out all year in 13 states. Unfortunately, ticks aren’t a problem just for critters. They like people too.
There are nearly 100 different types of ticks in the U.S. and here are the ten types of ticks that are most common:
- Brown Dog Tick (also called Wood Tick)
- American Dog Tick
- Black-legged Tick (also called the Deer Tick)
- Groundhog Tick
- Guif Coast Tick
- Lone Start Tick
- Rocky Mountain Wood Tick
- Asian Longhorned Tick
- Soft Tick
- Western Black-legged Tick
The brown dog tick is by far the most common and is found in every state in the U.S.
Almost every tick can be a carrier of a disease.
Ticks are arachnids. They are closely related to spiders! I knew I didn’t like them!
It can take up to three years for a tick to mature and reproduce.
Ticks are not born with the diseases they carry, they acquire them when they feed on animals that have the specific disease.
Be Prepared for Prevention
It’s tick season, so when you’re planning to be outside in an area where ticks are prominent it’s important to take precautions to keep ticks away.
- You can treat your clothing and gear with Permethrin. It’s available in a spray that you can apply to your clothing and gear and it will remain effective for up to five washes. You can also buy clothing that has been treated with permethrin.
- Use an insect repellant that contains DEET or Picardin. Be sure to follow the directions on these products.
- There are many natural ways to repel ticks that are safe and effective. These include Cedar Oil, Eucalyptus Oil, Neem Oil and Apple Cider Vinegar.
- Eat Garlic! Garlic can reduce your risk of being bitten by a tick because apparently ticks hate the smell of garlic! Bonus points for garlic because it’s very healthy in many ways!
- When you’re ready to go inside, use a lint roller on your clothing before you go in. The sticky tape on a lint roller is a great way to catch ticks that are hitching a ride on your pant legs, sleeves or even your skin.
- Do a full body check on yourself and your pets. Ticks love warm places like the creases on your arms and legs so look everywhere. Brush your hair and take a shower! This will help you wash them away before they have a chance to take a bite!
Image shared from https://www.drugs.com/cg/tick-bite.html
What To Do If A Tick Bites You
According to the Center for Disease Control, the best way to remove a tick is to use a pair of tweezers and grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible. Pull upward without twisting motion to remove the entire tick. After you have removed the tick, clean the area of the bite with alcohol and let it heal.
To dispose of the live tick, you can put it in alcohol, place it in a zip lock bag, wrap it in tape, or my favorite – flush it down the toilet! Never crush a tick with your fingers. Remember – Flush, Don’t Crush!
Most ticks do not carry disease, but if you develop a fever or rash within several weeks of your tick bite be sure to follow up with your doctor. It’s not necessary to save the tick for testing, but if you want to do so, you can place it in a zip lock bag in the freezer and write the date of the bite on the bag just in case.
Stay away from old folk remedies like using vaseline or nail polish on the tick, or using a hot match to remove it. You want to get that tick off as quickly as you can and not wait for it to die before removing it.
Be Safe and Have Fun
Remember, the joy of being outside far outweighs the need for concern about these pesky little ticks. Even when it’s tick season, being smart is always the best way to continue to enjoy camping, hiking and being outside. An ounce of prevention is always worth more than a pound of cure, so take precautions to avoid ticks.
For everything you’ve every wanted to know about ticks, please visit the Center for Disease Control and Preventions website: https://www.cdc.gov/ticks/
Happy Trails… Shari Sullivan
Senior Editor for Girl Camper
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