Many of you may assume that tick populations are at their most abundant during the summer season. However, this is not necessarily the case. Ticks experiencing the nymphal stage are most abundant during the spring and summer months. The majority of adult ticks, including the most dangerous, of course, reach their highest population numbers while the summer is transitioning into the fall. In the Northeastern United States, blacklegged ticks reach adulthood once early October arrives. As tick populations become numerous during this time of year, it becomes all the more important to protect yourself from tick bites.
You don’t need to be told that ticks carry some dangerous diseases, such as lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and Powassan virus. It is true that most ticks do not carry diseases, but ticks are so numerous in the natural environment that your risk of sustaining a tick bite is still high. This is especially true if you take walks or go hunting within wooded areas. Upon returning home after long periods spent outdoors, you may find that at least a couple of ticks have made themselves at home somewhere on your body. Always make sure to thoroughly inspect yourself, and whoever else you may be with, for a tick presence on the skin, especially the scalp.
Many people are not aware of how to properly remove a tick. Use tweezers to remove ticks from your body, but make sure to sterilize the tweezers in alcohol first. Also, when pulling a tick from your skin, you will want to keep the tweezers as close to the surface of your skin as possible. Do not twist or squeeze the tick. This could cause the tick’s head to become detached from its body, where it would remain attached to your skin. Having a single decapitated tick head on your body can still leave you vulnerable to contracting a tick-borne disease. In order to properly dispose of a tick you will want to place it in a small plastic baggy sealed with tape, making sure that the tick is not able to escape. Pouring alcohol onto the tick is also recommended to ensure that it is dead. You may also want to have the tick sent into a professional in order to have it tested for disease. Knowing if a tick that you pulled off of your skin was capable of transmitting a disease could help you to sleep better at night.
Have you ever stomped on a tick before brushing it outside? Do you always follow the proper tick disposal protocol?