Something Fishy

Something Fishy
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Monday, May 21, 2012

Caution needed around ticks

        Ticks are a serious subject. They certainly aren’t fun to write about, but I do it every year anyway. While to some it is a boring subject matter, hopefully it serves as a reminder, and to others may provide some helpful information.
One of my concerns about ticks is that hearing or reading about them may keep some people from enjoying the outdoors. But with caution and common sense, the outdoors can be enjoyed with little or no problem.
I regularly write about ticks because each year I learn of more people who have contracted Lyme disease or some other tick disease. It is important to take them seriously, but it also is important not to over react.
The symptoms of Lyme Disease include a persistent, slowly expanding blotchy red rash that is paler in the center than at the edges. Other symptoms are joint pain or swelling, especially in the knees, fatigue, difficulty in concentrating; headache; stiff neck or weakness of the facial muscle, dizziness, and an irregular heartbeat.
The symptoms of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Ehrlichiosis are similar. They include a moderate-to-high fever.
These diseases can be very serious, even life threatening, but If these diseases are diagnosed promptly, all three of them can be successfully treated.
The best defense is avoiding ticks. It isn’t always easy in southern Indiana counties along the Ohio River, which has more than its share of deer and turkey ticks.
Ticks become active as soon as the weather begins to warm up. Although you can come in contact with ticks on a mild winter day.
Most people think of ticks being in the woods; and they are. However, they are just as likely to be found in tall grass in your neighborhood -- maybe your own backyard. Around the house, minimize tick problems by keeping grass mowed short. They thrive in tall grass and weeds.
“We know that in order to become ill, a person has to be bitten by an infected tick, and that means a tick must be able to reach exposed skin,” said Michael Sinsko, a medical entomologist. “A little care can prevent that from happening.”
The best way to prevent bites if you plan to enter a grassy or wooded area is to wear a long-sleeved shirt and light-colored pants, with the shirt tucked in at the waist and the pants tucked into your socks. 
It also is important to wear a hat. This will keep ticks from dropping off overhead branches into your hair. I wear a hat with a brim completely surrounding it. Light colored hats and clothing make it easier to see the tiny nasties.
Repellents are effective in keeping ticks away from any exposed skin, and DEET has been the most popular product for years, however a new one 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.
  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 Tick Remover. I keep one hanging on the side of our refrigerator. I have no stock in the company, just found them to be more effective than tweezers removing small ticks.
For information on the Pro-Tick Remedy and other tick and insect information call 1-800-PIX-TICK, or email There also is excellent information and tick photos at www.tickinfo.comon the internet.

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