We just found out a friend of ours who who took his family on a camping trip had to cut his trip short – he ended up in the hospital. As he was hiking, he brushed against a bush that was infested with hundreds of ticks that imbedded themselves all over him. Apparently it was so bad the family could not get the ticks off fast enough and he had to go to the emergency room at the nearest hospital.
Prior to hearing this story I had not given ticks a lot of thought. But as I read more about it, I realized ticks can really hurt people and animals.
- They can easily attach to clothing and pets from the outside and infest your home.
- Ticks are active in warm weather – late spring and summer.
- They survive by feeding off animal or human blood. They transmit disease while feeding off the host.
- Ticks are found all over the country and spread many diseases: Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis and many others. I am not a medical professional so for more information, check here
- Ticks can be found in grassy, wooded areas that have dense vegetation
- Female ticks can lay up to 11,000 eggs!
How to Avoid becoming a Host or Carrier
- Walk along the middle of trails
- Avoid high grass and heavily wooded areas.
- Choose light colored clothing to allow you to easily spot ticks that get on you.
- If you cannot avoid it, take precautions by tucking your pant legs into your boots and tuck you shirt into your pants.
- For extra protection, wound duct tape around any vulnerable areas. Wound around once then twist and expose the sticky side. I know, not very attractive but I am willing to try it. See photo above.
- Use insect repellants containing 20% DEET on exposed skin.
- Spray gear and camping equipment such as tents and backpacks with products containing permethrin.
- When returning from wooded areas, inspect clothes and shoes before heading indoors – inspect yourself, children and pets for any “hitchhiking” ticks. Take a shower as soon as possible.
- If you have pets, discuss tick prevention programs with your vet.
How to Remove a Tick
- Use fine tipped tweezers.
- Grab the tick with the tweezers as closely as possible to the skin.
- Pull upward firmly but do not twist. Twisting may cause pieces of the ticks mouth be be left on the skin. If anything gets left behind, pull out with the tweezers.
- After removal, cleanse the area and your hands with alcohol, iodine wash, or soap and water
Seek Medical Attention if:
- You are unable to remove the tick. This is what happened to the friend I mentioned.
- Worsening rash
- Persistent headache
- Difficulty breathing
- Heart palpitations
This summer is turning out to be quite a bug-infested season. If they can cause this much misery during “normal” times, imagine how much worse it could get during a disaster or emergency.
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