After a long winter of cabin fever and with the now nice spring weather, we all want to get out in the sun and engage with nature. But watch out because so do tiny little critters like ticks which become active from April through October!
Ticks are everywhere during tick season not only in wooded damp areas with lots of leaves, but also in cities and suburbs.
Heres are a few things to be on the look out for:
1.Their hiding places. Lyme Disease and tick expert Mark Wooten of the University of Toledo says ticks like areas heavy with moisture. Be careful of piles of moist leaves and wood and tall grasses. Stay away from heavily populated mice areas and deer populations which spread Lyme disease. Don’t rub up against tree trunks cuz the little critters latch onto your clothes then end up behind your knees, armpits, groin and in your scalp. which are popular places on the body they gravitate to.
2. What do they look like?Depending on the species and age they vary in color and size but typically they are brown or black with a pointy head and larger body.
Always inspect your body and clothes after coming in from the outdoors. Heat kills ticks, so wash your clothes and take a hot shower.
3.Tick eggs. They look like itsy-bitsy, almost transparent chicken eggs about a half a millimeter in size and are in large bundles like a nest of spiders says Nate Nieto, who is the Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Northern Arizona University, in Flagstaff, AZ. But chances are you will rarely see them. Just look for the adult ticks.
4.What do their bites look like?Because ticks have developed pharmacological agents in their saliva you won’t feel any pain from a bite. But you really need to check yourself especially for deer ticks which are as small as freckles or poppyseed and are the carriers for Lyme disease. You may develop a rash from Lyme disease infested ticks and sometimes it looks like a bulls eye. See a your doctor asap if that develops.
5.Signs of tick-borne illnesses.Most people will not develop symptoms if they carefully check themselves for ticks and immediately remove them. But if you develop a fever, have the chills, headache, feel fatigued or have muscle aches you may have been bitten by a disease carrying tick. Symptoms are also similar to the flu.
If you plan on spending any length of time outdoors in the woods, protect yourself by wearing light colored long sleeved shirts and long pants tucked into your socks so you can spot the little critters easily when they latch onto your clothing and be sure to use Deet!