It’s summertime in Arkansas, which means that tick season is officially upon us! While these insects may be small, they can carry diseases like Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Lyme Disease, called tick-borne illnesses. If you love spending your days outdoors, it’s important to know how to protect yourself from a tick bite, and what to do if you do find one!
The best way to protect yourself against tick-borne disease is to prevent being bitten in the first place! Ticks prefer to stay in areas with long grasses, trees, and shrubs. If you are hiking in the woods, sticking to main trails can lessen your chances of encountering ticks. Wearing long clothing can help prevent bites too, but ticks are able to crawl underneath clothing, so tucking pants into socks is recommended. There are tick repellents you can purchase, but these can vary greatly in their effectiveness. Tools like EPA Tick Repellent Search can help ensure you are choosing the right product for yourself!
Removing a tick
After being outside, it’s very important to check yourself thoroughly for ticks! If you do see a tick, removing it as quickly as possible is crucial to lowering the risk of disease. There are many ways to remove a tick, but the easiest is using a clean pair of tweezers. First, clean your skin and the tweezers with rubbing alcohol. Then, placing the tweezers as close to your skin as you can, grab the tick and slowly pull it off. After this, you have two options: either sending the tick off for testing, or disposing of the tick. If you’re concerned about becoming infected, you can ask your doctor where to send the tick for disease testing. It’s important to know that even if a tick is carrying a disease, it does not automatically mean it has passed it to you! To dispose of the tick, you can either flush it down the toilet, or place it in a container of rubbing alcohol. As always, make sure not to forget your furry friends when checking yourself for ticks, even if they stayed home!
When to See a Doctor
After a tick bite, make sure to keep an eye out for any symptoms, such as rashes and fevers. If you notice these, contact your doctor to be tested. Ticks spread diseases through their saliva, so you can’t get a tick-borne illness from a tick that hasn’t bitten you! This also means that the longer a tick is biting you, the more likely it is that you can become sick, which is why checking for ticks and removing them immediately is so important!
For more information on ticks specific to Arkansas, you can check out Ticks in Arkansas to read more. Following these tips can help keep yourself safe, so you can enjoy a long summer full of outdoor fun!