Friday, April 29, 2016

Home and garden - Lyme disease prevention begins with education - By Bob Maurais

Mainely Ticks recommends that you:

·         Create a “Tick Safe” zone by cutting lawns and removing leaf litter. 

·         Keep children’s play areas 8 to10 feet from wooded edges, stone walls and tall grass.

·         Wear light-colored, long-sleeved shirts, pants and socks when outside. 

·         Apply 0.5 percent permethrin spray (repels both ticks and mosquitoes and works six weeks even through multiple washings) to your work or play clothes.  Treat exposed skin with controlled release 20 percent to 30 percent DEET repellent.  

·         Finally, and most importantly, perform a tick check on yourself, your family and your pets daily, especially during the months of May, June, and July when the nymph tick is most prevalent.  When performing the tick check, use the sensitivity of your fingers as well as your eyes. Nymph ticks are so tiny that you might mistake one for a small freckle…if you use your hands to feel, especially in the scalp, you are more apt to find and remove ticks in a timely fashion.  By performing a daily tick check, you greatly reduce your chances of contracting Lyme disease and co-infections.

If you spend time outdoors, you are apt to pick up a tick from time to time. Don’t panic if you do.  Medical experts differ on the time it takes for a tick to infect a host, but all agree that the longer the tick is attached, the greater your chances of contracting tick-borne diseases.  Here’s how to remove a tick:

Using a pair of fine pointed tweezers, grasp the tick as close as possible to the skin. Pull straight out with a steady motion. A tick’s mouthpart is barbed like a fish-hook. It may take up to one minute applying steady pressure for the tick to let go. Avoid squishing the tick or pulling side-to side. Once removed:
  • Wash the site thoroughly with soap and water, disinfect with antiseptic. 
  • Record the date  the tick was removed on a calendar. 
  • Watch for early signs and symptoms of Lyme disease, which may include an expanding red rash, flu-like symptoms, and/or joint pain and swelling. Approximately 40 percent to 70 percent of Lyme disease victims develop a rash within two days to four weeks. If untreated, more severe symptoms may develop, sometimes months to years later.
  • Contact your physician if you positively identify the attached tick as a deer tick.
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