Tuesday, October 18, 2011

How to Avoid Deer Ticks

The Ohio Department of Health advises outdoor enthusiasts to be mindful of the potential risk posed by all forms of ticks, including the deer tick that is the primary vector for Lyme disease. 
It is known as the deer tick due to its habit of parasitizing the white-tailed deer. Deer tick is also called the brown-legged tick. It has dark brown legs and long mouthparts and is small in size.


Here are Health Department preventative methods that should be used to help prevent exposure to tick-borne diseases:

  • Avoiding exposure to ticks is the best way to prevent tick-borne diseases such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
  • Ticks prefer tall grass and brushy areas with leaf litter, so avoid those areas whenever possible.
  • When hiking, stay in the middle of the trail as high grass on the edges of paths is a perfect place for ticks.
  • Keep grassy, outdoor play areas and yards well mowed to discourage tick infestations.Helpful hints when going into areas where ticks may be present:
  • Tuck your pants into your socks to keep the ticks away from your skin. Wear light colored clothing. This will make it easier to find crawling ticks.
  • Use repellents such as Picardin or 20 percent DEET and follow label instructions carefully. Check for ticks frequently, especially on children.
  • Shower within two hours of coming indoors to prevent ticks from attaching to you. Remove any attached ticks promptly and carefully.
  • Protect your pets since dogs can develop tick-borne diseases as well. In addition, they can bring ticks into the home with them.
  • During the general tick season of April to August, dogs should be kept or walked in well-mowed areas whenever possible.
  • Inspect dogs for ticks every day and if ticks any are found, remove them promptly and carefully.
  • There are many good tick control products for dogs. Talk to your veterinarian about recommendations and always follow product instructions, as some products might be toxic if used incorrectly.
  • If your pet becomes ill, have your pet examined by a veterinarian and tell them about any recent tick exposure.

For more information about ticks and tick-borne diseases:

Contact your local health department. Click here for a list of health departments.

More about deer ticks For more information about ticks and tick-borne diseases:

  • The life cycle of a deer tick: A fully fed female tick drops off its host (primarily deer) and lays thousands of eggs in the ground. The six-legged larval stage hatches and latches onto a host.
  • After feeding, it drops off and transforms into the eight-legged nymph stage.
  • These then drop off another host and transform into the adult stage.
  • Adult deer ticks are active in fall, winter and spring. Nymphs, the stage most likely to bite humans, are active mostly in late spring and early summer.
  • Ticks likewise do not fall out of trees. They climb onto vegetation, latch on and climb to an area they like. It may seem like the ticks have come from above because they sometimes end up on the scalp.

Article by: Jeff Frischkorn /The News-Herald
Source: Tom Pucci, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History's assistant curator for invertebrate zoology

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