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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Preventing ticks best disease defense

Bugs are just part of camping. If you head outdoors most anytime of the year, bugs are part of the experience, but they can be dealt with. There is no reason not to enjoy the outdoors. Well, almost.
Sure, you probably don't want to park your RV along side some Colorado or Wisconsin Rivers when the mosquito season is at it's peak, but here in the Tri-State area, we can deal with most of the pests.
One of those pests, the deer tick is worth special attention. Ticks just won't go away. The little, nasty creatures continue to be a growing problem, and in a few cases, more than just an annoyance. Originally, they were found in a few Southern Indiana counties, and part of Kentucky and Southern Illinois. However, their range seems to be expanding northward.
For the most part they are just a pesky nuisance, but caution is in order as they can cause serious health problems. 
I'm a bit reluctant to write about tick problems as I fear it will keep some people out of the woods. It is true, some ticks carry lyme disease as well as others. However, the outdoors can be enjoyed in tick territory, if proper care and precautions are taken
There are hundreds of species of ticks, but only a few that really bother people. And of course, those are the ones to be concerned about. Among those, one of the most pesky around these parts are called deer ticks. Some people call them turkey ticks, and others call them bear ticks or some unprintable bad word. I call them deer ticks.
People often think the number of ticks expands during a mild winter, and their numbers are reduced by really cold weather. However,  research reveals it is almost impossible to freeze out the tiny pests.
Dick Gadd, president of SCS Limited, a company that specializes in tick and other pest repellent, says ticks bore into decaying leaves, and can withstand prolonged periods of sub-zero cold. He says what does relate to their increasing numbers is moisture. Damp weather benefits tick productivity far more than a mild winter. So this spring has been ideal for ticks and bad for people
In order for a person to become ill, a person has to be bitten by an infected tick (only a very small percentage of ticks are infected). It also is believed the tick must be attached to a person for 24 hours.. A little prevention can eliminate the bites.
According to Yahoo.s health website, not everyone infected with these lyme disease bacteria gets ill. If a person does become ill, the first symptoms resemble the flu. There may be a "bulls eye" rash, a flat or slightly raised red spot at the site of the tick bite. Often there is a clear area in the center. It can be larger than one to three inches wide.
People usually think of finding ticks in the woods, but they are just as likely to be found in tall grass. Make a special effort to avoid tall grass, and around your home, keep the grass mowed.
Repellents are effective in keeping ticks away from any exposed skin, and DEET has been the best bet for years, however a new product developed in Europe and Australia was introduced in the U.S. about five years ago.
Picaridin is an effective alternative to DEET that provides long lasting protection.  It was developed not only to repel insects but to offer a pleasant to use product that offered a light, clean feeling and odorless repellent. It can be found in several commercial products.
  According to Dick Gadd, "As with any of the repellents we offer. Picaridin should be used as part of an insect repellent system.  We strongly recommend the use of permethrin treatment for your clothing and a topical skin repellent such as picaridin on exposed skin
After leaving a grassy or wooded area, you should check for ticks on your clothing or skin. If a tick is attached to your skin, it can be removed with either tweezers or forceps by grasping the insect as close to the skin as possible. Try to remove the head of the tick.
Ticks should not be removed with your bare fingers, but if tweezers or forceps are not available, you can use tissue paper or a paper towel to prevent the passing of any possible infection.
I use a tool called a Pro Tick Remedy remover. I keep one hanging on the side of refrigerator along with family pictures, doctor appointment reminders,  and my wife’s “To Do” lists. The tick puller comes with a small magnifying glass and information to help determine whether or not the tick is a dangerous type.
It is available from SCS Limited, which has a very good website with pictures and information about ticks and other insect pests, how to prevent them, and much more. The site is: Various products and information is available at

1 comment:

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