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Summer 2017: How to Get Ahead of Northeast's Tick Problem

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Finally, the long winter is ending, and the weather is getting warmer. That means longer days, warm summer evenings, hiking trips, and water fights in the yard with the kids and pets running around. As summer finally descends upon the northeastern region of the United States and drives away the snow, people are finally able to venture outside to enjoy nature.Summer 2017: How to Get Ahead of Northeast's Tick Problem

Of course, summer also means tick season has arrived, and the Northeast is in for a particularly nasty one this year. Nothing quite puts a damper on a great day spent outside than coming in and finding out that a tick has dug in somewhere and decided to make a home on your body. Fortunately, there are a few tricks people can follow to be prepared and hopefully keep any unwelcome guests from taking up residence in your home or on your family.

Yourself and Your Kids

Ticks do more than just give you that creepy crawly sensation that all bugs do; they can be dangerous, as well. Ticks can spread diseases like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. That’s why it’s important to make sure both you and your kids are protected when they go outside.

Make sure that you are wearing insect repellent on all of your exposed skin. The Center for Disease Control recommends a repellent with at least 20% or more DEET. You don’t need to apply a lot, because a heavy dose is no more effective than a normal one. Don’t apply it under your clothing, however, because it can irritate or even the damage the skin if you are overexposed. Wash off any extra repellant at night, just to be safe. When applying to your kids, apply it yourself, rather than having the kids apply it, so you can avoid accidental ingestion or overapplication, and avoid getting the repellant near your kids’ hands, eyes, and mouth.

If you are going to be in a heavily wooded or grassy area, wear long sleeves and pants if possible. Light clothing makes it easier to spot ticks. Close off any access points for insects by tucking your shirt into your pants and your pants into your socks. When you come inside, do a thorough check of your skin, not leaving out any hard-to-reach spots. Remember to check your hair, around your waist, behind the knees and in the armpits, as well as between your legs and even your navel and groin areas. If you find a tick, remove it gently with a pair of tweezers, grabbing it as close to the head as possible so it doesn’t detach and remain embedded in your skin.

Your House and Yard

While activities like hiking and camping are often when people are most vigilant about ticks, some experts believe that the majority of tick infections happen around the home. An estimated three-fourths of people who get tick bites do so while gardening or while children are playing outside.

Some landscapes are more likely to keep away mice, deer, and various rodents that can carry ticks into your yard. Make sure to keep your yard clear of leaf piles and shrubs near your house, as they can be breeding grounds for ticks. Keep your grass cut short, as well, and keep children’s play areas out of the shade in lots of sunlight. Ticks like cooler, darker areas, so removing the shade can lower the concentration.

If you’ve already got a tick problem, consider calling in a professional. There are many tick control services you can call who will treat your yard to remove insects such as ticks, hornets, and other pests. Placing a perimeter of wood chips around your yard can also help to keep ticks away, as ticks will usually not cross the dry material.Summer 2017: How to Get Ahead of Northeast's Tick Problem

Your Pets

If you have pets, don’t forget to make sure they’re protected, too! Not only do you not want them to get sick; you also don’t want them bringing ticks inside your house with them. Treat your pets with a flea and tick control product. There are oral medications available that are typically given once a month, but be sure not to miss a dose.

Many pet shampoos also contain ingredients meant to kill ticks on contact. Tick collars can be helpful, but they are really only most effective around the dog’s neck and head. Just as you would inspect yourself and your children when they come inside, inspect your pets on a regular basis to make sure they haven’t acquired any unwanted passengers.

This year’s tick season is going to be a rough one. Fortunately, that doesn’t mean you have to spend the entire summer cooped up inside. If you take the right precautionary measures, check yourself regularly, and make sure your house and lawn are cared for properly, it shouldn’t be a problem. You can have a variety of outdoor adventures with your family and enjoy the warm summer air.

 

Greg Dastrup is a world traveler and professional writer with a passion for learning new languages. He’s spent most of his career consulting for businesses in North America.

 

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