Now that it’s October, it’s time to talk about ticks. According to Penn State Extension, October is prime tick season in Pennsylvania. Given that ticks are so prevalent, we all need to be aware of the effects of ticks forarborists, farmers and others who work outside, or enjoy outdoor fall activities. Read on to learn why they matter so much, what we can do about them, and what we should avoid when it comes to ticks.
Unfortunately, ticks can carry Lyme disease which is pretty easily transmitted to pets and humans. With the influx of ticks this time of the year in Pennsylvania, we need to be careful in our outdoor work and activities. Ticks infected with Lyme disease from another host carry the disease and bacteria in their stomachs. It takes up to 48 hours for the bacteria to regurgitate from their stomach into you or your pet as the new host, if they attach. This is good news because according to Penn Sate Extension, when removed quickly (within a day or two), you are not likely to contract Lyme or any other diseases that ticks may be carrying.
First and foremost, there are preventative measures you can take to avoid ticks. Penn Sate Extension suggests wearing bright clothes in the woods or when working as a way to better spot ticks if they do end up on you. Additionally, they state that keeping your clothes layered and tucked into each other (socks over pants; shirt tucked into pants) will prevent ticks from being able to get in your clothes and onto your skin.
Moreover, you can wash your clothes in hot water or a high dryer setting to kill ticks.
The best action to take when you notice a tick attached to yourself, your pet, or someone else is to take tweezers to the lowermost part of the head near the skin and gently, but firmly pull its head out. Dump the tick down the toilet or into alcohol to exterminate and dispose of it.
Besides preventative actions that you can take, there are a number of things that you should avoid when it comes to ticks. If you do see a tick on you, do not squish or pop it. As stated before, diseases are carried in the stomach of the tick. When you pop a tick, the stomach acids may squish into your skin.
As a final warning, Penn State Extension states the following when it comes to pulling the tick out of skin:
“Do not forget to clean the bite area. Lastly, do not worry if you do not manage to remove the so-called ‘head’. The part of the tick that is buried under the skin is not the head but the mouthparts. Contrary to the popular belief, leaving the mouthparts in does not increase your risk of infection.”
Additionally, we will add to not put off seeing a doctor (or vet if your pet was bitten) who may have additional testing or treatments to help.
To wrap up, if you have other suggestions for arborisits or those who just want to enjoy the woods this fall when the air is cooler, let us know! We welcome the conversation of protecting pets and people from tick bites that could carry Lyme disease. If you have any questions, give us at call or message us using our online form found here.