When heading into the backcountry this summer to enjoy the outdoors, be sure to stay aware of ticks.
Ticks are most active in the spring and summer months when the weather is warm. Blacklegged Ticks are most often found in forests and overgrown areas between the woods and open spaces.
Outdoor activities such as golfing, hunting, camping, fishing, or hiking are activities that increase the risk of encountering ticks, so be sure to take preventative measures and avoid being bitten.
Whenever possible, wear closed-toed shoes with long-sleeved shirts and pants, and pull your socks over your pant legs to stop ticks from being able to reach your skin.
Wear light coloured clothing to make it easier to spot ticks if they climb on your clothes.
Ticks attach themselves to the skin. Removing ticks within 24 to 36 hours usually prevents infection.
To remove a tick, use clean tweezers, grasp the head as close to the skin as possible, and slowly pull straight out. Afterwards, wash the site of the bite with soap and water or disinfect with alcohol or hand sanitizer.
If mouthparts break off and remain in the skin, remove them with tweezers. If you are unable to easily remove them, leave them alone and let the skin heal.
If possible, save the tick in a zip-lock bag and record the date of the bite. If you develop symptoms of Lyme Disease in the weeks after being bitten, contact your health care provider right away. Bring the tick with you as it may help the doctor assess your illness.
Symptoms include fatigue, numbness or tingling, skin rash, headache, fever or chills, and spasms or weakness.