Ticked Off

As we go outside more often, onto the lawn and into the garden, health reminders about those tiny ticks who can spoil your fun.

An April 18th newspaper story by JOE LoTEMPLIO sounded the Spring warning about ticks and Lyme disease. This can be especially important for those of us living in Pennsylvania, since our suburbs are overrun with Whitetail Deer, known carriers of ticks infected with this bacterium, hence the common name: DEER TICKS. They are known to be more prevalent around Barberries, like the ‘Crimson Barberry’ pictured below:

Let’s look at some tick basics:
  • Adult deer ticks are very small, about the size of a sesame seed (3 – 4 millimeters). Young ticks can be the size of a pinhead.
  • Cover skin with socks, tucked-in long pants, and long sleeve shirts. Lighter colored clothing helps reveal ticks. 10-minutes of ‘High’ dryer heat will kill ticks on clothing.
  • Repellents include DEET and oil of lemon eucalyptus, while clothing can be treated with permethrin. Read and follow label directions.
  • Ticks like grassy and wooded areas with underbrush. Hike toward the center of trails.
  • Shower after being outdoors, and inspect your body as well as your pets, since they can carry ticks indoors.
  • Ticks like to hide around your ears, under arms, around your waist, inside belly buttons, behind knees, in your hair and even between your legs!
  • Symptoms of Lyme disease include: Fever, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint aches, and swollen lymph nodes. 70 to 80 percent of infected people develop a “bull’s eye rash.”

“Your risk of Lyme disease decreases if the tick is removed within 24 to 36 hours of when it attaches, which is why daily tick checks are so important.”

John Kanoza, Director of Public Health in Clinton County, Pennsylvania
As the new saying goes, “Be Safe.”