Tick TypesHere comes another tick season!

With the crazy weather we’ve had this spring, this is predicted to be one of the worst tick seasons ever.  Even short walks on established paths have already proven fruitful for these predatory pests, and it’s only the beginning of summer.  

Ticks carry debilitating diseases such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Lyme disease and many other tick-borne illnesses, and, they can be transmitted by a simple bite.

The best way to avoid a tick encounter is to prevent it from occurring.  Since staying indoors is not an option for most of us, there are a number of ways to help curb these pests from latching on to you and your pets.  The harsher chemical repellants with a high content of Deet have proven to be around 85% effective.  There are some natural remedies that can also be fairly effective, such as Cedar Oil Spray, Eucalyptus Oil, Apple Cider Vinegar and other homemade repellants.

After a walk, be sure to do a full body check to ensure you or your pets haven’t picked up a passenger or two.  Time is of the essence, and, if you or your pets are carrying one or more of these pests, it is crucial that you remove the tick as soon as possible, to prevent potential transmission.  

If you find one, it is important to remain calm.  First, disinfect the site with rubbing alcohol.  Next, get out a pair of clean, fine-pointed tweezers.  You’ll want to remove the tick by grasping as close to the head as possible, as that is where it is attached to the skin.  The point of the tweezers should be perpendicular to the insect’s body, and, with a steady hand, pull straight up (do not twist the tweezers).  Be careful not to break the body in two.  After you have removed the tick, reapply rubbing alcohol to the exit site.

If you’re wondering whether the tick has passed on any diseases, resist the urge and don’t kill the insect.  Instead, put it in a small ziploc-style bag where it will die soon enough.  Once it is dead, take a photo of it against a white background.  These two steps will help you identify the type of tick, in the event that you develop any symptoms of infection.  Symptoms include a rash at the bite site, headache, nausea, muscle soreness and fever.  If you experience any of these symptoms within a few days after a bite, see a health care provider immediately.

We hope these tips help you to make the most of your summer in Grand County.  For more information about ticks, visit the Centers for Disease Control website at www.cdc.gov