Avoid Tick Bites, Tick Borne Disease

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) has advice that goes for many residents in much of the United States: Avoid Tick Bites!

The KDHE notes spring and summer are hunting, fishing, camping, and hiking seasons. It is also the time of year when ticks are out!

Here are some steps to take to prevent tick bites.

Wear Protective Clothing
Wear protective clothing when practical (long sleeves and pants). Clothing should be light-colored to make ticks more visible. When hiking, wear a long-sleeved shirt tucked into pants, long pants tucked into high socks and over-the-ankle shoes to keep ticks out.

Permethrin kills ticks rather than just repel them.
Permethrin kills ticks rather than just repel them.

Products containing permethrin, which kills ticks rather than merely repelling them, can be applied to clothing and equipment, but not directly to skin. Garments must be allowed to dry thoroughly before wearing. Clothing and tents pre-treated with permethrin are available, and the protection can remain active through several washings. Be sure to follow label directions.

Use Insect Repellant With DEET
Insect repellents also reduce the risk of being bitten. When outdoors, use insect repellant containing 20 percent to 30 percent DEET on exposed skin and clothing for protection that lasts up to several hours. Follow the directions on the label. Other repellents registered by the Environmental Protection Agency can be found at http://cfpub.epa.gov/oppref/insect/.

Avoid Likely Infested Areas
Ticks are usually found on vegetation close to the ground. In addition to regular mowing, avoid wooded or bushy areas with tall grass and leaf litter, and walk in the center of trails.

Check Your Body For Them
Check yourself at least every two hours for ticks when outside for extended periods of time. Pay special attention to areas in and around your hair, ears, armpits, groin, navel, and backs of the knees. Promptly remove a tick if one is found. The sooner a tick is removed, the less chance it will transmit a disease to its host.

If you find a tick, grasp the tick with tweezers as close to the skin as possible and slowly pull it straight out. Do not crush or puncture the tick and try to avoid touching the tick with your bare hands. Thoroughly disinfect the bite area and wash your hands immediately after removal. Be sure to also examine pets and gear, as ticks can ride into the home on animals, coats, backpacks, blankets, etc.

There are other products on the market that remove ticks, too.

Symptoms of tickborne disease can include any unusual rash and unexplained flu-like symptoms, including fever, severe headaches, body aches, and dizziness. Prompt treatment with antibiotics can prevent serious illness or even death. See your doctor immediately if you have been bitten by a tick and experience any of these symptoms.

For more information about tick-borne diseases, visit here!

 

Have any of our Guide Outdoors Readers been bitten by a tick and got ill because of it? Please comment about the experience below.

 

 

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