When Should You Check For Ticks?
Ticks can be found throughout the year in wooded areas with tall grass, especially those near bodies of water. Ticks carry numerous fatal diseases and should therefore be removed promptly to protect public health.
After being outside, take a shower immediately afterwards in order to wash away any loose ticks that have attached themselves to you and better locate crawling ones that may still be crawling on you. Inspect your hair, groin, ears and body for signs of ticks before doing this checkup.
1. After Hiking
Few things make outdoor enthusiasts shudder as much as the sight of an attached and engorged tick, particularly one containing disease-causing pathogens that could result in human illness. By regularly checking for ticks and promptly removing them, however, you can dramatically lower your chance of becoming bitten and sick.
The Centers for Disease Control has issued a warning about how recent warm temperatures have resulted in higher than normal tick populations, so it’s crucial that extra precautions be taken when hiking and camping to protect both yourself and those you care about.
Start by choosing appropriate clothing for outdoor activities. Clothing in light colors makes it easier to spot ticks crawling across your skin, so opt for clothing in this color family that makes this easier. Tuck your shirt into your pants to prevent ticks from getting under there and make attaching themselves more difficult.
Finally, apply repellents that contain permethrin. This material allows your clothing to repel ticks and other biting insects and will continue to provide protection through multiple washings. If desired, consider purchasing clothing pretreated with permethrin for even further peace of mind.
Once you are back from hiking, conduct a full body check for ticks. Pay particular attention to armpits, the backs of knees, waistbands and bellybuttons, between legs, ears and scalp – as well as any hard-to-see areas if possible – using your mirror if available to ensure all hard-to-see spots have been reached. Also shower as soon as you return (or as close as possible to that timeframe) in order to remove any ticks not attached yet so they may be found before they bite – giving yourself an increased chance of finding them before they bite off!
2. After Hunting
As hunters embark on hunting adventures this fall, they should remain extra cautious to check for ticks. Ticks carry numerous diseases that can pose serious health threats; Lyme disease is among the most widespread tick-borne infections found here; others include anaplasmosis, babesiosis and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.
Ticks prefer humid environments with dense vegetation where they can hide until it is time to latch on and feed on their host. Ticks are also commonly seen in grassy and wooded areas where they cling onto brush, logs or stone walls for protection from direct sunlight; during fall months they can even be found hiding out under leaf litter piles in backyards as a protection.
An initial tick bite may not cause severe discomfort to humans; however, once feeding begins the tick may become engorged with bacteria responsible for Lyme disease.
Tick-borne diseases vary among individuals, with most reporting symptoms such as rash, headache and fever at the site of bite. Others may feel general malaise and experience muscle ache or fatigue from being bitten; left untreated some tick-borne diseases can even prove fatal.
An effective tick check is key to discovering and removing ticks that have attached themselves to your skin. Pay special attention to often overlooked areas like your scalp, ears and knees when searching for ticks attached to them – like showering promptly after being outdoors may help make this easier as can tumble drying clothes on high heat and sealing gear in plastic bags with tape as this will also kill off ticks found therein before wearing or using them.
3. After Camping
Ticks thrive in dense woods, tall grasses and piles of leaves; camping in these environments increases your risk. If camping in a forest, stay near trails to decrease your chance of encountering ticks; campgrounds and state parks typically spray their trails and cleared areas to decrease tick populations.
Ticks breed during the fall and hatch as larvae in spring. Once they find an animal host, larvae attach themselves and feed for several days before maturing into nymphs and dropping off onto vegetation or other small animals. If nymphs come across humans they may start sucking blood from them, leading to serious diseases like Lyme disease and Powassan virus.
To avoid tick bites, use an EPA-approved insect spray containing 20 to 30% DEET or other active ingredients such as picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), para-menthane-diol (OLE) and 2-undecanoate. Apply this repellent directly on exposed skin and clothing according to package directions; spray any repellent over children but make sure it doesn’t come into contact with their eyes or mouths.
Once your camping adventure has concluded, be sure to conduct a full body tick check as soon as possible. Be particularly cautious of checking the backs of knees, waistband area, bellybuttons, ears and neck area. In tick-prone areas it may also be beneficial to treat clothes and equipment with permethrin before camping to protect it against ticks through repeated washing cycles.
If you detect a tick, remove it as quickly as possible with tweezers to minimize any chance of infection posed by Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses like Powassan virus and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. This helps ensure you receive medical treatment as soon as possible and can minimize infection risks associated with being bitten by one.
4. After Fishing
Many people mistakenly view ticks as something to fear; however, their ecological role dates back 400 million years! Ticks provide vital protection to wild places by keeping humans from freely roaming them and disrupting nature’s delicate balance.
Ticks typically peak their activity between spring and summer; however, with increasing global temperatures their activity could extend into fall and winter. Ticks await hosts by crouching on grasses or leaves with their forelegs raised, hoping that an animal or person brushes against them – should this happen, they attach themselves to clothing or the skin of passing animals/people and latch onto their hosts to feed and potentially transfer pathogens. If someone brushes against a tick, it may attach themselves and bite. Once attached it can consume blood while transmit pathogens.
Once a tick attaches itself to your skin, its mouthparts may take up to 10 days before they detach from it and fall off on their own. In that time, you should check for and remove any ticks as quickly as possible using fine-point tweezers or forceps with fine points near its attachment site and pull upward with steady pressure; avoid twisting, crushing or squeezing as this could leave its mouthparts attached permanently and increase risk for infection.
Clothing treated with an EPA-registered insect repellent such as permethrin can also help deter ticks from crawling onto you when outdoors, helping reduce disease transmission risks. Be sure to tumble dry clothes on high heat when returning indoors for best results and shower soon after being outdoors to wash off unattached ticks that have not attached themselves and reduce the risk of disease transmission.
5. After Swimming
Lyme disease-carrying ticks tend to be especially active during summer, making swimmers especially susceptible. The good news is that even if one does attach while swimming, water will help wash it away so you can spot it more quickly when getting out.
Common belief holds that ticks cannot survive underwater, yet the truth is more complex. Ticks can easily remain alive underwater thanks to an advanced respiratory system called plastron which allows them to absorb oxygen from water for multiple days at a time!
Ticks can survive hot water to some degree; their chances of survival drop dramatically once temperatures surpass 130 degrees Fahrenheit, so it is imperative that you take an immediate shower after being outdoors and throw any clothing containing ticks in the dryer ASAP.
When dealing with an attached tick, the most effective method for its removal is using fine-tipped tweezers. To effectively grasp and extract it from your skin without squashing or twisting (which could cause its mouth parts to break off into your pores), grasping its body close to its surface without squashing or twisting can result in mouth parts breaking off and remaining on your body after extraction; pull straight out applying even pressure with steady pressure before checking for remaining parts in its previous location and cleaning with alcohol or soap and water as soon as possible after using plastic bag to store its current situation for later testing or show and tell purposes!