This is a good time to review what you know about ticks. Ticks are responsible for more human disease than any other insect. Many tick-borne diseases have been reported in Missouri: Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis, tularemia, Heartland virus, Bourbon virus, Lyme or Lyme-like disease and southern tick-associated rash illness. (Source: Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services website)
Ticks do not jump or fly and are generally found within three feet of the ground. When a tick is seeking a host (questing), it perches itself on stems of grass, low brush or edges of leaves. When the host (you, me, your dog, a deer, for example) brushes against the vegetation the tick attaches to the host and takes a blood meal. If the tick gets its blood meal, it mates. The male tick dies and the female tick drops to the ground and lays thousands of eggs. The life cycle starts all over again. Source: Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services website.
How do you protect yourself from ticks? 1. Treat clothing you wear for camping, hiking, gardening or hunting with permethrin (look for a spray specific for clothing). 2. Use approved insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR 3535, or Oil of Eucalyptus. Do not use insect repellents on babies younger than 2 months. Don’t use Oil of Eucalyptus on children under 3 years. Source: Centers for Disease Control website.
How do you remove a tick? 1. Use a fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible. Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth parts to break off and remain in the skin. 2. After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol or soap and water. 3. Never crush a tick with your fingers. Dispose of a live tick by putting it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag or wrapping it tightly in tape or flushing it down the toilet. If you develop a rash or fever within several weeks of removing a tick, see your doctor. Source: Centers for Disease Control website.