Preventing a tick bite is always on my mind all summer long. Living in Wisconsin, I am well aware of the diseases transmitted by tick bites. It is about the only negative to our beautiful and absolute fun summers in and around the Badger State.
Having experienced the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) makes me even more vigilant to prevent a tick bite. It gets tricky because the tick can be so small that I can’t see it.
A good start to prevention is awareness of what ticks are found where you live and travel to. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is a good source of information. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services is a resource for those of us in Wisconsin.
The next step is to learn what diseases are transmitted by the particular ticks. The CDC website is a great resource for information about tick-borne diseases. Because Lyme Disease is so prevalent where I live, I’m going to discuss ways to prevent Lyme Disease.
Prevention is the best way to avoid a tick-borne disease such as Lyme Disease. Here are a few tips:
- Keep your lawn mowed. Ticks like to hang out at the end of tall grass blades waiting for an animal or human to brush up against it, then it hitches a ride to then bite.
- Wear light colored clothing to better observe ticks.
- Avoid tick habitat, they like wooded and grassy areas.
- Wear long sleeved shirts and long pants. Tuck shirts into pants and pant legs into socks.
- Keep long hair pulled back.
- Avoid sitting on the ground.
- Follow directions and use insect repellent. Clothing can be treated with permethrin.
- Shower within two hours after coming in from outside.
- Perform regular tick checks on your body. Use a mirror and don’t forget to check ears, behind the ears, navel, between toes and scalp. Literally check everywhere!
- Don’t forget the family pet. Check with your veterinarian for appropriate tick prevention.
- Stay on the trail or path and avoid brushing up against grasses or other vegetation.
Know the symptoms of a tick bite to look out for. A rash, fever, fatigue and many more. Unfortunately, the tick can be so small you may not see it, so be aware of symptoms of tick-borne diseases. Contact your doctor immediately if you suspect you may have tick-borne disease. Again, the CDC website is a go-to resource. Symptoms can occur weeks after a bite.
I had a tick on my waist a week ago. It is important to remove it properly using a tweezer. Don’t touch the tick and wash your body immediately. I also wiped the area with an alcohol swab. Keep the tick in a sealed jar in case you need to test it.
I recommend visiting the CDC website (linked above) to become familiar with tick bite prevention. We vacationed in Colorado last week so I looked at what ticks are found out there and what tick-borne diseases those ticks can carry and transmit.
Tick bite prevention is a part of summertime living in Wisconsin and a whole lot of other places. I find myself checking my scalp and the rest of my body often. Ticks can live all year around, they are just more prevalent in the warmer months. I tend to check our dog, too.
Like my friend the gardener says, ” When you see the lady with her pants tucked into her socks, just wave at me!” A little attention can prevent BIG problems. And that is using Arthritis Wisdom!
What are your thoughts and suggestions? Leave a comment!
photo credit: Jon Flobrant of Unsplash