Tick Related Illness On the Rise In North Carolina, 5 Ways To Avoid Being Bitten

Tick disease and five ways to prevent it

As Summer ramps up, here in the South we are inundated with creepy crawlers that bite, sting and just plain annoy us. But one really stands out as a serious danger. The dreaded TICK. Their favorite hiding places are behind ears, in skin folds and in hair just to name a few.

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According to a recent article by Josh Shaffer, in The Herald Sun of Durham North Carolina, Tick related illness is drastically on the rise, especially in North One of these being “Rocky Mountain Fever”

A 2017 study conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services in Raleigh North Carolina, showed 674 reported cases, That is a five percent increase over 2016. Another threat is Ehrlichiosis, (Lyme Disease) which rose ten percent in 2017, to 363 reported cases.

The more informed you are about these pests, the more likely you are to avoid becoming a statistic. The following is some information to help keep you and your family safe.

Where Are Ticks Found

One of the most obvious places you can find ticks is “in the woods” They tend to hang out on blades of grass, in low hanging tree limbs and in areas of pine trees. This is so they can attach themselves to any unfortunate passersby that may be in the area.

Another high traffic area for Ticks is in pet areas. They will hide in bedding, waiting to attach to anything that happens to come by, this is not limited to the family pet, but birds and other wild animals that pass by may be carrying these unwelcome guests.

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Tips To Help avoid Being Bitten

Repellents that can be purchased at a variety of retail outlets are your best defense. According to NIH Medlineplus Magazine of Bethesda Maryland, the best defense is;

  • Chemical repellents that include DEET, permethrin or picaridin.
  • Wear light-colored protective clothing.
  • Tuck pants legs in socks.
  • Avoid Tick-infested-areas thoroughly checking yourself. Each time you have been in contact with the great outdoors is another way to make sure you “head trouble off at the pass."
  • Pay special attention to; armpits, hair and behind ears, belly button and skinfolds.

If Bitten By A Tick

There is a ton of opinions on what and what not to do if you are bitten by a Tick. First is, don't panic!

According to Johns Hopkins Rheumatology In Baltimore Maryland removing a tick within the first 36 hours of being bitten significantly reduces the risk of infection.

Johns Hopkins' Method for Removing a Tick

  1. Grasp the head and mouthparts, as close to the skin as possible. *Take your time! Depending on how long the Tick has been Attached, this can take some time.
  2. Pull with steady SLOW pressure do not jerk back sharply, as this can “rip” the tick apart leaving parts behind.
  3. If this does happen, again DON'T PANIC! It is not the mouthparts that transmit Lyme Disease, rather the body of the tick itself.
  4. Do not squeeze the body of the tick as you remove it, this can force fluids into the skin. *it is not recommended to use petroleum jelly or other chemicals to force the Tick to un-attach itself. This can irritate the Tick and actually cause it to pump fluid back into your body.
  5. Once the Tick is removed, wash the area with warm soapy water and observe the area over the next 2-3 weeks for signs of expanding redness or swelling as well as fever, headache and or vomiting.
  6. it is possible to Test the Tick for disease, so saving it after removal is a good suggestion.

Just because these little creatures are stalking us doesn't mean we have to wait for winter to go outside again. Just be observant and use proper precautions and we will get through this.

Also see: Make Your Yard Tick Proof With These Easy Tricks To Avoid Lyme Disease.

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