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Protect Yourself During Tick Season

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Protect Yourself During Tick Season

Unfortunately, we’re not the only ones who love the warm, sunny weather. Tick season is upon us, so be sure to know how to protect yourself - and your family members.

The first time I saw a tick was about three summers ago. My family’s golden retriever was proudly presenting me a three foot-long stick that she couldn’t quite carry properly when, by chance, I noticed that she had a lump under her collar. As it turns out, a deer tick had decided that hiding there would be a good place to feed and had become engorged—almost to the size of a grape.

Luckily, a quick phone call to the vet and a pair of tweezers resolved the issue. The incident, however, proved as a very real reminder that ticks are alive and sucking in the area where I live and, indeed, across much of Canada.

Know what to look for

Ticks can’t fly or jump, so these little opportunists transfer onto an animal—or a human being—who brushes up against any foliage that they may have crawled on. Once on a host, they normally make their way to a warm, moist location such as the armpits before settling down to draw blood.

While not all ticks cause illness, they are known carriers for the bacteria that cause Lyme disease, as well as Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Tularemia, and others.

Prevention

As with most things, the easiest thing to do when dealing with ticks is to not have to deal with them at all. Preventing the little bloodsuckers from grabbing hold in the first place is easy.

  • Use a natural bug spray on yourself, your children, and your pets.
  • Wear light-coloured clothing when headed into the woods. You’ll be able to spot any ticks that may fall on your clothes more easily this way.
  • Tuck your pants into your socks, and your shirt tucked into your pants. It may not look attractive, but it’ll sure help!
  • Inspect yourself, your children, and your pets after having spent time in the woods.

Removal

Most folk remedies, such as burning the tick with a match, can actually increase your risk of infection. Instead, try the following to remove a tick. If you can’t remove it, get professional help.

  1. Use a pair of tweezers to grip the tick as closely as you can to the skin’s surface.
  2. Pull the tick away from the skin gently.
  3. Inspect the area to make sure that the tick’s mouth-parts haven’t remained in your skin.
  4. Wash your hands and the affected area thoroughly with soap and water.

After removing the tick, watch for signs of infection the bite, and get checked immediately if you notice that an infection’s starting to develop, or if you get a rash, a fever, headaches, or flu-like symptoms.

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