Lifestyle

Lifestyle

Lifestyle

Getty Images / Ladislav-Kubes

If you’re someone who dislikes the snow and ice, then you probably have been loving this winter. Warmer temperatures have flourished throughout the U.S. But, that also means more bugs and ticks. Moreover, tick bites aren’t something to take lightly. Now, health agencies across America are warning that this year’s tick season is going to be extra bad.

So, why will there be more ticks this season? It’s simple. A warmer winter means that the tick population didn’t die off like it would have in freezing temperatures. That means there are going to be way more ticks attacking both humans and pets.

What makes ticks so dangerous? They could be carrying the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, which causes Lyme disease. “The bacterium can be transmitted by the blacklegged tick, if infected,” the Michigan DNR says on its website. They add that it’s “the most commonly reported vector-borne disease in the United States.” Moreover, the Pennsylvania Department of Health notes that ticks can also cause Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis, Spotted Fever Rickettsiosis, Powassan Virus, STARI, Alpha-gal Syndrome and Borrelia miyamotoi disease. Not cool.

So, what exactly is a tick? It’s an arthropod, like a spider. “Ticks have 8 legs, are very small, and attach to a person or animal to suck blood. In Pennsylvania, many ticks carry diseases,” the Pennsylvania Department of Health notes. “Ticks can be found anywhere: outdoors in areas with long grasses and weeds, leaf piles, the woods, and even in your own yard.” That said, it’s important to protect yourself and avoid tick bites. That doesn’t mean you have to totally avoid going outdoors. But, you need to be cautious. I love being outdoors in the warm months, and I also live near the woods. So, I’m going to be extra mindful of ticks this season. Here are some expert tips I’m following, and you should, too.

How to Protect Yourself From Ticks:

  • Do This Before You Go Outdoors

    If you’re going outdoors, make sure to take precautions. The Pennsylvania Department of Health suggests treating clothing and gear with products containing 0.5% permethrin. “Permethrin can be used to treat boots, clothing and camping gear and remain protective through several washings,” they state. Also, use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents with DEET, picaridin, IR3535, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE), para-menthane-diol (PMD), or 2-undecanone. Finally, wear light-colored clothing.

    A woman spraying insect repellent.

    Getty Images / Zbynek-Pospisil

  • Avoid Areas That Ticks Love

    Of course, the best thing to do is to avoid any contact with ticks. So, try to avoid wooded and brushy areas with high grass or fallen leaves. If you are in those areas, walk in the center of the trails. Just stay away from that tall grass at all costs.

    Tall grass in a meadow.

    Getty Images / Lee-J-Rouse

  • After You've Had Fun Outdoors

    When you get inside, check your clothing for tickets. Remove any tickets that you find. Also, “Tumble dry clothes in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks on dry clothing after you come indoors,” according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health. They also suggest to examine gear and pets, shower soon after being outdoors and check your body for ticks after being outdoors. Finally, shower as soon as you come indoors.

    A woman showering.

    Getty Images / Voronchuk-Daria

  • Where to Find Ticks on Your Body

    When you come indoors, do that full body check for ticks. They tend to hide under the arms; in and around the ears; inside belly button; back of the knees; in and around the hair; between the legs; and around the waist. That’s according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

    A tick on a human body.

    Getty Images / Ladislav-Kubes

  • Do This If You Get a Tick Bite

    Take it seriously if you get a tick bite. “If you develop a rash or fever within a month of removing a tick, see your doctor as soon as possible,” the Michigan DNR says. “Be sure to tell your doctor about your recent tick bite and when the bite occurred.”

    A female doctor.

    Getty Images / Deagreez

  • Remain Calm

    If you get a tick bite, above all, remain calm. It can be scary, but if you catch it in time, there are things that can help. That’s why it’s so important to do early detection and look all over your body and clothes after being outdoors. So, you don’t have to say no to going out doors, but say no to ticks. 

    A blonde woman screaming.

    Getty Images / cokacoka

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