Although it is still only March and the weather is cold and snowy, an occasional warmer day will bring out the little critters in force. With Spring just around the corner, we’ll soon be out raking and pruning, but be aware that ticks are lurking everywhere. They especially like tall grass and will also hitch a ride on the wind to propel them from place to place, ultimately ending up on us and our pets.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, some 300,000 Americans are infected with Lyme disease every year. In 1975, the disease was first discovered in children in Lyme, Connecticut. At the time, it was determined that the disease was spread by tiny ticks carried on the bodies of deer. The disease has now spread to all fifty states.
If you do happen to be bitten, slowly and carefully remove the tick. Then over the next few days keep watch for a “bulls eye” around the site of entry. This bulls eye is a signal that you may be infected with Lyme, so be sure to seek medical advice immediately.
As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so while doing that yard work, here are a few precautions you can take. Tuck your pants into your socks, button shirts up to the neck and wear gloves and a hat. It’s also a good idea to wear light colored clothing making it easier see the ticks as some are barely the size of a pencil point.
Don’t forget to check your pets daily, as ticks will catch a ride on them and ultimately end up in your home. It’s also a good idea to have your pets vaccinated for Lyme; however, to date there is no preventive vaccine for humans.
In addition to the deer tick, other types abound in our area – the American Dog Tick, also named the dog tick or wood tick and the common Brown Dog Tick. Fortunately for humans, the dog ticks are just that – they only bite dogs, not humans.
For additional information for learning about and protecting yourself from ticks check out the web site tickinfo.com.