August 09, 2023

Expert tips for tick prevention

Summer is full of outdoor adventures, from water activities and picnics to sports and hiking. However, increased outdoor activity heightens one’s risk for a tick bite – especially in Jackson County. Ticks, most active in the spring and summer months, have the potential to spread serious illnesses such as Lyme Disease.  Ali Strong, a Black River Healthcare Clinic Provider, recommends the below tick prevention measures to ensure a safe and enjoyable summer outdoors:

Protect Your Pets and Property:

Tricks thrive in grassy, wooded, and brushy environments – making Jackson County their ideal home. Keep a close eye on your pets and treat them with tick insecticides routinely. Being proactive with tick treatments prevents your pets from becoming ill and your home from becoming infested. Keeping ticks out of your home is a great first step when it comes to preventing a tick bite.

Dress Appropriately:

For those who enjoy spending time outdoors, it is important to wear clothing that adequately covers your body to lower the chance of a tick bite. Additionally, one could consider investing in permethrin-treated clothing which is clothing that has been treated with a pesticide repellent to detract insects.

Arm yourself:

Consider using an insect repellent that contains DEET or picaridin. For those who prefer a more natural repellent, Strong recommends utilizing lemon and eucalyptus oil. It is important to be knowledgeable about the products you spray on your skin. Make sure you are familiar with wash-off instructions and product ingredients. It is always recommended to consult with your family’s pediatrician and/or primary care provider prior to utilizing insect repellent on children.

Perform Checks Immediately:

It is important to check your clothes, pets, gear, and skin thoroughly when returning indoors. To ensure clothing is completely tick-free, you can place your clothes in the dryer on high heat for 10 minutes or wash your clothes in hot water – both will kill the ticks. Confirming your skin is free of ticks is most important, and can be a daunting task as ticks like to hide out on the scalp, inside the belly button, under the arms, behind the knees, and around the waste. Strong highly recommends using a mirror to allow for a thorough check of the body.

Prevention is key to minimizing your chance of a tick bite, but Strong recognizes that the measures above are not always as effective as we’d like. If you do find a tick, Strong recommends the following actions: 

  • Use clean tweezers to grasp the tick. Make sure you get as close to the surface of the skin as possible. Pull in an upward motion and refrain from twisting or pulling at an angle. It is important that no body parts of the tick remain inside the skin.
  • After the tick is removed, it is best to clean the bite area with rubbing alcohol, soap, and water.
  • When it comes to disposing of the tick, consider the following methods:
    • Submerge tick in alcohol
    • Place the tick in a sealed container
    • Flush the tick down the toilet

Strong reminds patients that it is always good practice to alert their primary care provider if they are concerned about a tick bite, especially if symptoms develop.

Ali Strong, APNP

Primary Care Provider – Black River Healthcare Clinic

About the author: BRMH

comments powered by Disqus