Posts Tagged how to protect against ticks

Enjoying the Fall? Don’t Forget About Ticks

Fall is my favorite season. The beautiful color changes of the leaves and the comfortable temperatures call me to the outdoors. From hiking and apple picking to hunting and outdoor festivals, there is always something to do outdoors in the autumn months. As you enjoy the fall, we at Mosquito Squad urge you to be aware that those dangerous pests are still out and active.

Small tick on finger

The tick is a vector of many illnesses and disease, so small yet so dangerous.

A common misconception is that ticks aren’t active in the fall. And while ticks do become less active as the weather turns cooler, they are known to bite and transmit disease through late October (later in some areas of the country).

Ticks are found all over the United States, with the black-legged species (or deer tick) transmitting the majority of tick-borne illnesses, mainly Lyme disease. If you are spending time outdoors this fall, and we hope you are, here are some tips to keep in mind.

Wear long sleeved, loose shirts and pants in a light color. Hunters may need to wear camouflage, but the majority of us can decrease our chances of getting bit by a tick just by wearing lighting colored clothing and being aware. Ticks are both small and dark. You may not notice the small fleck that is a tick nymph on a black jacket, for instance, but you may see it on a light blue shirt.

Wipe off your clothing before going inside. This may sound odd, but it is important if you’ve spent time outdoors in an area where ticks may be active. Ticks are incredibly resilient and can live in a dormant state for close to a year’s time. What does that mean exactly? If you are wearing a jacket, put it through the wash and then into a drawer for next season, a tick could still be alive on that jacket and ready to bite next year.

Hot water is your friend when it comes to ticks. Due to their resiliency, ticks can be difficult to kill. When laundering clothes that you’ve worn outside, wash and dry on the hottest settings. Ticks can survive through the laundry, but are less likely to with hot water and air.

Apply a repellent to your exposed skin and clothing. At Mosquito Squad, we provide our clients with effective tick control on their properties, but that can’t protect them when they leave their yards.  Applying a repellent will keep the ticks away.

And, as always, do a full body tick check after coming inside. Ticks are small little buggers and can make their way up a pant leg or sleeve pretty easily without being noticed. It’s good practice to do a thorough tick check any time you have spent time outdoors. If you do have a tick on you, remove it promptly and place it in a plastic bag in case it needs to be tested for Lyme later on.

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Lyme Disease App – helping to prevent and fight Lyme disease

I never thought that I would download a Lyme disease application on my phone, but the American Lyme Disease Foundation (ALDF) proved me wrong. At the end of last summer, the ALDF released an iPhone app title “Lyme Disease Tick Map” to educate people on the dangers of Lyme disease ways to prevent it. At Mosquito Squad, we have seen some crazy tick and mosquito control phone apps, but haven’t been very impressed, but I have to say this app has some pretty cool tools inside.

Here is the icon for the ALDF's iPhone app

Here is the icon for the ALDF’s iPhone app

When you open the Lyme Disease Tick Map application, it gives you a table of contents for an easy way to find information. Here’s what it offers:

Tick Map. It is just what it says. The application will read where you are currently located and tell you how likely you are to be bitten by an infected tick. For example, I am located in Richmond, VA and it tells me that right now it is rare that I would be bitten by a tick infected with Lyme. The scale goes from no ticks to an abundance of ticks.

How to Prevent Lyme Disease. This section provides the user with bullet points on how to avoid tick bites (and thus Lyme disease), including wearing the appropriate clothing and better areas to walk if you are spending time outdoors.

ALDF's app provides information through the table of contents

ALDF’s app provides information through the table of contents

How to Identify a Tick. For those people who live in areas with several species of ticks, this section of ALDF’s app is really helpful. It includes images of the most common types of ticks for quick comparisons. In the deer tick section (deer ticks are the only ticks that transmit Lyme disease), the images are clickable so you that you can see the differences between larva, nymph, male and female ticks and it will tell you which ones are most likely to bite and spread Lyme.

How to Remove a Tick. There are a ton of theories regarding the best way to remove an attached tick. Unfortunately, several of them not only don’t help, but may increase your chances of getting Lyme. This section of the app provides both a video and a step-by-step guide covering how to remove the tick properly.

Duration of Attachment. The longer a tick has been feeding, the more likely it is that Lyme disease has been transferred to you (if the tick is infected). It can be difficult to know, however, how long a tick has been attached (I don’t know about you, but I don’t look at the back of my knee all too often). The duration of attachment section show pictures of ticks at different stages of attachment so the user can compare the photos and decide if they need to see a doctor.

Lyme Disease Symptoms. This section is not for the squeamish! It shows pictures as well as describes different symptoms of Lyme.

Find a Physician. I’m not sure how doctors get listed on ALDF’s app, but when I pressed it, it provided me the name and contact information for a local infectious disease doctor.

Helpful Links. There are links to other helpful organizations that provide information on Lyme disease.

About the App. You guessed it, this section provides the background on the app.

The app as a whole is a pretty good reference tool for ticks and Lyme disease, especially if you have been bitten and aren’t sure what type of tick bit you, how long it has been there and how to remove it. At Mosquito Squad, we protect our clients against tick bites and Lyme disease with a combination of our barrier spray and tick tubes. Professional tick control will help fight off ticks before they can bite and infect you.

If you have questions regarding tick control on your property, please call your local Mosquito Squad office.

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Virginia Passes Lyme Disease Bill

Spring is right around the corner, and with the warmer weather comes an influx of mosquitoes and ticks. With growing numbers of West Nile Virus and Lyme disease, municipalities are growing more and more aware of the dangers of vector-borne disease. Many local governments have already planned for more widespread mosquito control and now Virginia has passed a new bill dealing with Lyme disease.

Ticks Populations increase

Tick populations are on the rise, make sure you keep close attention when spending time outdoors

Lyme disease numbers in Virginia have been rising the last few years. This past week Governor McDonnell passed the Lyme Disease Testing Awareness Act. The act requires doctors to warn patients that current Lyme disease testing isn’t 100% accurate and that false negatives can occur. Physicians will be expected to start informing their patients starting July 1, 2013.

The bill was sponsored by Fairfax delegate Barbara Comstock who believes it is a positive step towards a more open-minded approach to treating Lyme. Transmitted by ticks, Lyme disease is easily treatable by antibiotics when caught early. The earlier it is properly diagnosed, the better the chance of a full recovery. Unfortunately, Lyme disease isn’t always easy to diagnose and when left untreated can result in serious, if not lifelong, complications, including joint paint and heart disease.

Monte Skall, the executive director of National Capital Lyme Disease Association, explains that the bill “was truly a successful grass-roots effort, proving that people are working together can bring about real change to benefit victims of Lyme disease.” Source.

Comstock adds that it was “a great step in raising awareness about this terrible disease and the high incidence of patients receiving false negative tests for Lyme” Source.

As spring and summer come and we spend more time outdoors, it’s important to vigilant as to your surroundings but also aware that ticks aren’t only present in woods, but everywhere outdoors. To minimize your chances of getting Lyme disease, you need to minimize your exposure to ticks. When spending significant time outdoors, it’s best to wear light colored loose clothing, that way you can see if a tick is on you. After coming indoors, do a thorough body checking, paying particular attention to hard to reach areas like behind the knees and under your arms. If you find a tick on you, remove it promptly (following this guide from the Center for Disease Control) and place the tick in a plastic bag. If you are worried that the tick may be a Lyme carrier, take it to the doctor and have it tested.

Mosquito Squad stops ticks dead in their tracks

Mosquito Squad stops ticks dead in their tracks

At Mosquito Squad, we protect our clients from ticks in their backyards with our professional tick control. Our barrier spray kills adult ticks on contact. Additionally we use tick tubes to kill the ticks before they can bite our clients. If you have a large tick population on your property or just want to be extra careful this year, contact your local Mosquito Squad office.

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