Hello, and welcome back to the Arne Wellness Center blog. In part one of this blog series, we began looking at ways to protect yourself, your loved ones, your pets, and your home from ticks that spread Lyme disease. As we come into the warmer spring and summer months here in Littleton, many of you will be getting back outdoors to enjoy the beauty and splendor of Colorado’s parks, trails, and wilderness. However, spring and summer are also when ticks become more active. Therefore, it is imperative that you have the tools and know-how you need to effectively avoid getting bit by a tick, which can reduce your risk of getting Lyme disease. Here are a few more ways you can protect yourself and others from ticks this season.
Know How to Spot Ticks
If you will be spending time outdoors in an area that is prone to housing ticks, you should familiarize yourself with tick characteristics. This will help you identify a tick on your body or on your pet’s body when doing a tick check. Most tick larvae are tiny and very hard to spot — roughly the size of a grain of sand, while tick nymphs are slightly bigger — about the size of a sesame seed. Adult ticks that have not fed are typically the size of an apple seed and become enlarged and red after feeding on the blood of a host. Ticks have round, flattened bodies with smaller heads and eight legs. Depending on the tick breed, they have different coloring on their bodies and legs. If you notice small spots around your ankles or legs after spending time in wooded and grassy areas, these may be ticks and should be carefully removed immediately. For help identifying different ticks, follow this link to the Tick Encounter website.
Check Clothing for Ticks
Once you have arrived back home after spending time outdoors, you’ll want to inspect all of your clothing for ticks. To avoid dropping ticks on the floors and furniture in your home, it’s best to check your clothing outdoors (if you can). Remove any ticks that you find on your clothing. Toss your clothing in a dryer and run it on high heat for 10 to 15 minutes, as high heat can kill ticks.
Shower After Being Outdoors
You’ll want to shower off as soon as you can after playing or working outdoors in tick-prone areas. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “showering within two hours of coming indoors has been shown to reduce your risk of getting Lyme disease.” The CDC also suggests that showering is not only a good time to check your body (including your nether regions) for ticks, but it can also wash off any unattached ticks.
Start Tick Prevention for Pets
As a pet owner, you will want to start your dogs and cats on tick prevention as soon as tick season begins (if not sooner). There are many tick prevention options for your pet that include chewables made by NexGard® and Frontline Plus®, as well as tick collars, dips, sprays, and shampoos. Tick prevention can keep your pets protected while also reducing the risk of your pet carrying a tick into your home that could jump onto a human host. If you take your dog with your on your outdoor adventures, tick prevention is a must.
We hope you will consider our tick prevention tips when heading outdoors in the next several months. Arming yourself with tools and knowledge for avoiding ticks can significantly reduce your risk of being bitten by a tick. Should you get a tick bite, seek medical attention right away. If you want to be tested for Lyme disease or would like to begin Lyme disease treatment, call Arne Wellness Center in Littleton to make an appointment today.