April 1, 2017

Preparing for Ticks

Prepare for a Bad Summer for Ticks (WSJ)
Mild winters and big deer and mice populations mean more ticks and higher rates of Lyme disease diagnoses

Symptoms can include a ring-like rash, along with flulike symptoms, muscle and joint aches and swollen lymph nodes. It is usually diagnosed based on symptoms or a blood test. It is treated with antibiotics. Longer-term infections can cause more serious symptoms, including arthritis, severe muscle pain and headaches, heart palpitations, brain inflammation and nerve pain. Diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease is controversial with many differences of opinion between patient groups and doctors.
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates there are more than 300,000 new cases of Lyme disease a year, about triple the rate from two decades ago. Most cases are centered in the Northeast, mid-Atlantic region and Upper Midwest states, such as Minnesota and Wisconsin.

On average 10 to 30% of deer nymphal ticks are infected with Lyme disease...Ticks typically feed on humans for three to five days, said Jorge Parada, a medical director of infection prevention and control at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Illinois. A tick that latches on for only a few hours is unlikely to transmit infection. For Lyme disease to be transmitted, a tick usually has to be attached for 24 to 48 hours, said Dr. Parada, though for some other diseases it is less time. Thus, “the importance of doing tick checks.”

Best Advice You're Probably Going to Get a Tick This Summer. Good Luck.

Try to grab the tick near the skin and pull it out from there. Don’t have the fortitude to execute such a precise maneuver with tweezers? The Tick Twister and Tick Key make the job almost foolproof....

You certainly can pick up a tick from the woods, but you’re also likely to find them in parks and backyards. Ticks bury themselves in damp soil or leaf litter, and climb up on grass or brush to wait for their prey. You can make your yard less of a tick haven by keeping your grass short, removing any rotten leaves or similar debris, and get rid of brush piles where mice like to live. 

When you go to tick-prone areas, wear shoes that you’ve thoroughly sprayed with permethrin. This is an insecticide that is very safe for humans but stops ticks from crawling up your legs. Treat your favorite hiking boots, socks, and pants with the stuff; consider it for the shoes you use for yard work, too. To finish the job, spritz on a DEET-based spray whenever you head out to the backyard or park. It’s also safe when used properly, even for kids, and it will repel mosquitoes as well as ticks.

When you plan to work outside or walk in the wood, you're best of wearing long sleeves and long pants.  Since the little buggers like to climb up your leg, tuck your pants inside your socks.  When you're done shower well.

Posted by Jill Fallon at April 1, 2017 4:47 PM | Permalink