With the warmer Virginia weather we’ve been having, we’re not out of the woods yet when it comes to tick season. We still find them on our dogs all through the summer and early fall. Even with special dog collars. But there are a few simple actions we can take to prevent ticks on ourselves and our families.
Of course, tick-borne illness is something we all worry about. Our vet told us if they’re just crawling on you and haven’t bitten you, you’re still fine. If a tick does bite you, it usually has to be attached for 24-48 hours before infecting you with Lyme Disease. But other diseases can be transmitted sooner. Also, not all ticks are infected to begin with.
Still, it is important to practice caution with ticks. Here are some reminders of what to do before you go outdoors and after you come inside to prevent ticks.
Prevent Ticks with Clothing & Repellent
You probably know when you'll be in wooded or overgrown areas. Plan your clothing ahead of time. Cover up with long sleeves, long-pants, socks and shoes, etc. It is much easier to pick a tick of a shirt than off your skin. Use insect repellent with specific ingredients to treat yourself and your clothing ahead of time.
Do Tick Checks ASAP
The sooner the better. After you and your family have been outdoors, check everyone for ticks as soon as you can. You want to find them before they bite, or before they have a chance to infect. Ticks like to go to warmer areas of the body: armpits, behind ears, behind knees, hair, etc. Check your furry friends too!
Remove & Dispose of Ticks Safely
Even with your best effort, you may find yourself or a family member with a tick bite. Be very careful removing a tick that is attached. Use tweezers to grab it as close to the skin. Firmly and steadily pull it out. Make sure no part of the tick remains in the skin. Dispose of it properly by flushing it down the toilet.
There are many other great tips for tick safety out there, including ways to reduce ticks in your own yard.
Time is of the essence here. Create a barrier with your clothing and repellent. Then do tick checks as soon as you are able. These two actions can prevent you having to remove an attached tick altogether.