Is it just me, or is this a bad year for ticks?
According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, cases of lyme disease are on the increase. While Southborough wasn’t on it’s list of cities and towns with the highest instances of lyme disease — Framingham, Natick, and Newton were — ticks and the disease they carry are still a concern in our community.
I haven’t seen any statistics to prove it’s true, but anecdotally at least, it seems the ticks are out in force this year. I’ve pulled several off my daughter in the past few weeks, and other moms have said they’ve done the same with their kids.
Woodward School earlier this month provided some information to parents on how to deal with ticks. I’ve included some of the info below, but you can see the complete document here (PDF).
How do I protect myself from tick bites?
- Check yourself daily – favorite tick places include the legs, back of the knees, groin, armpit, and neck, along the hairline and behind the ears.
- Wear long-sleeved light colored shirts and long pants tucked into your socks.
- Stick to main pathways and the center of trails when hiking.
- Use repellents that contain DEET on your clothes and exposed skin.
What should I do if I find a tick on myself?
- Carefully remove it as soon as possible.
- Use fine point tweezers to grip the mouthparts of the tick as close to the skin as possible.
- Pull straight out with a steady gentle pressure, do not squeeze or twist.
- Disinfect the bite site.
- Do NOT apply kerosene, petroleum jelly, nail polish or a hot match tip to remove the tick.
- Note the date and where on the body the tick was removed.
- If you are unsure of the type of tick, save it for identification.
- Notify your health care provider if you have been bitten by a deer tick or if you develop any unusual illness following a tick bite.
There’s also lots of good information on the Massachusetts Health and Human Services Tickborne Diseases website (http://www.mass.gov/dph/tick), including how to reduce the chance of ticks in your yard.
(Photo posted to Flickr by s p e x)