Getting Ready for Tick Season


When it comes to ticks, the members of our Columbia and Charleston pest control offices are all too familiar with them. Ticks prefer warm, humid climates (like South Carolina), which means you should start taking precautions now to avoid tick bites and Lyme disease.

Lyme disease is carried by a certain type of tick called a deer tick. While the beginning stages of Lyme disease can cause high fevers, rashes, headaches, and nausea, the later stages can cause arthritis, numbness, memory problems, and other dangerous effects. That’s why it’s important to protect yourself from ticks while you’re outdoors.

Some things to keep in mind:

A) Wear long clothing, which includes long sleeves and long pants. We know it’s hot in the South, so try clothing made from cotton or linen – these will be lighter and more breathable.

B) Use lots of bug spray, particularly spray with a high level of DEET (an oil that is very effective at repelling bugs away). Apply the bug spray to exposed skin and reapply as necessary. When putting bug spray on your face, spray it into your hands first, then apply. Don’t spray directly onto your face.

C) Avoid fields, woods, or bushy areas. Ticks usually hang out on the ends of tall grasses and branches, so when you brush up against the plant, the tick will transfer to you and will attach itself.

D) Many times, ticks are found where you can’t see – like on necks and scalps, so wear a hat. You’ll give yourself more protective covering and stay cool in the sun.

E) When you go back inside, thoroughly check yourself for ticks – remove all of your clothing, get a mirror, and inspect every inch. Ticks can be very small and hard to see, so pay attention. Have someone else look you over, just to be sure.

F) If you do find a tick on you, don’t panic. Get a pair of fine-tipped tweezers and grasp it firmly and as close to your skin as possible. Pull the tick straight out with a forceful motion. Another trick is to apply dish soap to a cotton ball and swab the tick for a good 20 seconds. The tick will remove itself from the skin and when you pull the cotton ball away, it should be on it.

G) After you remove the tick, check yourself for rashes every day for a few weeks. Many times a Lyme disease rash will come in the form of a bullseye and often in the same spot the tick was (but not always). If you find a rash, go see a doctor.

Remember: Ticks aren’t always transferred to humans directly – they can be “given” to you by your outdoor pet. Because of this, it’s important to treat your cats and dogs with flea and tick medication and search them thoroughly each time they come back into the house.

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