4/21/2017 Avoiding and Removing Ticks

If you’ve ever gone on a walk at Presque Isle you’ve probably seen a sign warning you about ticks.  Do you take those signs seriously? Our beloved peninsula has an astonishingly large tick population, and they can pose serious risks to people who frequent the state park. These tiny ectoparasites can host diseases and infections that can harm our health very seriously, so it is important to take precautions in order to prevent tick bites. We’re going to use todays post to discuss some hiking hacks that will help you avoid ticks and be educated on what to do if you encounter them.

While you’re walking through nature ticks can climb on your clothing or your skin as you walk by or brush against plant life in the surrounding environment. Once they come in contact with your skin they find a comfortable place and begin to burrow. The tick will then begin to feed off of your blood once it’s head is fully burrowed into your skin, and if it carries something like Lyme Disease, this is when you could become infected with the disease. The best way to treat things like this is to prevent the experience entirely.

In order to prevent tick bites from occurring there are several preventative measures that anyone can take.

·         You can avoid wooded or outdoor areas entirely-but that defeats our goal of spending time outside, so we usually skip this step and utilize other strategies.

·         If there is a trail available where you are adventuring, you can walk in the center as opposed to closer to the plant life as long as foot traffic is not crowded.

·         Using repellents that contain DEET on your exposed skin typically protects you for several hours, but is not a guarantee of bite prevention.

·         Covering as much skin as possible is an easy way to postpone the bites because it gives you a chance to find the ticks while they are still on your clothing instead of your skin. You should always check over your clothing and skin thoroughly before getting into your vehicle after a hike, having a friend help you enhances the likelihood of finding any hidden ticks.

·         Light colored clothing is also helpful because the dark colored ticks will be easier to spot.

We don’t want the existence of ticks to prevent anyone from enjoying the outdoors, and it really is fairly simple to prevent contact with them if you are careful and educated about the little fellas. However if you do experience a tick bite it is important to handle the tick removal in a particular manner to avoid other potential health effects of the tick.

It is important to get every part of the tick out of your skin when you remove it.  In order to do this, use fine-tipped tweezers to grip the tick as closely to your skin as you can.  Then pull steadily upward, avoid jerking, twisting or ripping the tick because this can cause mouth-parts to disconnect and be left in your skin. Once you’ve removed the tick, thoroughly clean the area with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub or soap and water. As for the removed tick, do not kill it with your hands-flush it down the toilet.

Try to remove the tick as quickly as possible and don’t wait for it to detach on its own.  Ticks will feed from a host for several days and grow drastically in size. They are commonly found on outdoor pets due to their proximity to the ground and lack of clothing.

While hiking remember to keep an eye out for ticks and enjoy the outdoors in all of its beauty. Prevention is the best treatment, so bug repellent and long clothing are handy things to have around in areas that have known tick populations.


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