If you enjoy exploring the Great Outdoors and checking out the wildlife in their natural habitats you should take special care to protect yourself from the bites of ticks that may carry Lyme disease. The more you know about which ticks can carry the disease and when they are more present, the more you can do to defend yourself from these tiny bugs.
One of the most common tick-borne diseases in the USA is Lyme disease. When a tick latches on to its host, the bite transmits the bacteria called Borrelia burgelorferi. This bacteria, if not treated as soon as possible can cause mild to severe symptoms in humans.
1. Take precautions when exploring the woods
Ticks prefer the wooded areas with dense, tall grasses and shrubs. When you are out hiking, take care to follow the trails and try your best to stay in the center of the trails to avoid brushing against the tall grasses and shrubbery.
Wear comfortable long sleeves and long pants that are light colored so you can see the ticks before they get to you. As an extra line of defense, wrap the bottom of your pants in duct tape to prevent the ticks from getting under your clothing. When you get back home, check yourself and your clothing.
2. Carefully remove any ticks and seek medical care immediately
If you find a tick, use a tweezers to carefully remove the tick without squeezing the bug or else it will release more of its toxins into your body. Afterward, consider getting to a doctor for preventive treatment. The sooner you seek care the better your chances are of not getting sick. Treatment within 3 days of exposure to a ticks bite is ideal for success.
3. Deer Ticks are the fiend to watch for
Deer ticks are also called blacklegged ticks. These particular ticks can play host to the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. The times that these ticks are most active are Mid-May through Mid-July. Although, the risk is lower they are also present in late-September through October when they are adults.
4. Lyme disease comes in 3 Stages
- Stage 1 a person will experience heart palpitations, light headed, fainting spells, and chest pains
- Stage 2 a person will have increasingly flu-like symptoms that can be helped with medical treatment
- Stage 3 a person will experience increasing pain, stiffness of the neck and other symptoms similar to meningitis. One may even develop encephalitis.
5. If you decide to use sprays, be careful
You may think that the more you spray DEET on your body the better off you will be, but that is not true. Instead, only spray the amount that correlates with the amount of time you will be exposed in the woods. Take the container along with you if you are out longer than you expected to reapply the DEET. If you are out with children, caution them about contact with their mouth and eyes with the DEET. And if for any reason you elect to take an infant out with you as you explore, simply do not DEET at all on infants.