TickTicks are common in the United States and are becoming a growing problem. There are several different species of these eight legged creatures that can potentially spread several kinds of diseases including Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Lyme disease. The CDC has suggested that the number of people diagnosed with Lyme disease each year is about 30,000.*

Prevention tips for you!

The EPA has created suggestions for best practices to help prevent ticks from selecting you as their next host.

  • Avoid areas where you can come in contact with ticks. This would be thickly wooded or bushy areas with high grass. Stay in the center of trails when you hike.
  • Use insect repellent that is designed to repel ticks. DEET is commonly found in insect repellents and can repel ticks.
  • Examine your body when you come back inside for ticks. They like warm, humid climates so be sure to check under your arms, behind ears, in hair, inside belly button, behind knees, in between legs, and around the waist. Parents should check their children as well.
  • Take a shower within two hours of coming indoors. Using a washcloth can help scrub off any ticks that may be crawling on you.
  • Examine your gear for ticks. They can hitch a ride home on clothes, backpacks and other materials until they can find a host.
  • Put clothing in the dryer on high heat. This will kill any ticks on your clothing that have not attached themselves to you.

Protect your pets

tick-removal-on-dogTicks like to live on our furry friends as well. Dogs are very attractive to ticks and they can be affected by tickborne diseases from their bites too. A tick bite on your dog can take up to 21 days to appear, so watch for behavior and appetite changes that may be a sign that your dog has been bitten. Ticks can be transferred from your dog to you so it is a good idea to take prevention steps for him as well:

  • Check for ticks daily on your pets. If your pet spends time outdoors, this is very important.
  • Remove ticks from your pets as soon as you find them.
  • Talk to your veterinarian. They will know what tickborne diseases are in the area and can perform a tick check during periodic exams. Ask about tick prevention products designed for your pet.

Prevent ticks in your yard

Ticks have a preference for thick grasses, leaf litter and wooded areas so keeping your yard manicured with periodic pest control can help keep ticks away.

  • Keep up yard work. Mow the lawn and dispose of fallen leaves frequently.
  • Apply pest control to your yard. You should be able to find pest control product designed to kill ticks in your local garden center; these are called acaricides. Be sure to read and follow all directions.
  • Remove thick brush. Clear tall grass and thick brush around the perimeter of the house and the edge of the lawn.
  • Create a barrier. In between your lawn and wooded areas, create a barrier of about 3 feet with gravel to help restrict ticks from moving from the wilderness to your backyard. Keep recreationatick-signl areas, such as decks and playgrounds, away from the yard edges and trees. Fencing the yard will help keep out wild animals that may be carrying ticks.
  • Dispose of trash. Remove any old furniture, mattresses or trash that would give ticks a place to hide.
  • Store fire wood. Wood should be stacked neatly in a dry area, away from the house.

*http://www.cdc.gov/lyme/stats/chartstables/casesbyyear.html