Awareness of Lyme disease has improved dramatically over the past five years, which is important as the disease continues to spread rapidly. Central Massachusetts happens to be a very hospitable environment for deer ticks, the pest responsible for spreading Lyme disease. As deer tick populations grow, Lyme can spread quite easily.
At Mosquito Squad of Central Massachusetts, we want to help you and your family avoid tick-borne diseases such as Lyme. To do this, not only do we offer professional tick control treatment, but we are dedicated to keeping you informed about everything you can do to prevent Lyme disease without sacrificing your love of the great outdoors. If you’re spending time outside there are some steps you can take to lower your risks:
Check for Ticks
Each day when you come in from spending time in untreated outdoor space, you should check yourself for ticks. Ticks are tiny and hide well, making it important to look closely.
- Before coming indoors, use a lint roller to remove any ticks you can see on your clothing.
- When you undress, put your clothing in a dryer on high for 10 minutes to kill any ticks that may still be attached to your clothes.
- Start at your feet (ticks climb aboard from low shrubs and tall grasses) and work your way up to your head.
- Pay close attention (using your hands and eyes) to dark, moist hiding places such as behind the knees, in the groin area, belly button, under breasts and in armpits.
- Ticks like your hair, use a hand-held mirror to check behind your ears and feel around on your entire scalp. Enlist a friend if you have especially long or thick hair.
Safely Remove Ticks
Finding ticks is just the first step in the battle against tick-borne diseases. Ticks need to be embedded for their blood meal for 24-48 hours to transmit Lyme disease. Safely removing a tick is relatively easy, but there is a great deal of misinformation out there that can be dangerous. If you cause stress to an embedded tick, you could cause it to regurgitate and infect you during the process.
- Use pointy tweezers. Ticks are tiny, and you need these pointed ends to grab hold of them more easily.
- Grab the tick close to your skin, as close to their head and mouth parts as possible.
- Tips the tick upwards to remove it straight out at a slow and steady pace.
- Clean the bite with alcohol.
- Never burn, smother, or rip a tick out.
Proper Tick Disposal
Once you remove a tick, it is certainly anyone’s first response to want to destroy the bugger as quickly as possible. It is important not to squish a tick with your fingers; if they are infected, you could spread it. While you could flush it or burn it, we have a great safe tick disposal method. Place the tick in a tightly sealed baggy or jar with a tiny bit of alcohol. Or tape the tick to an index card. Date the card, bag or jar and save the tick for a month or two. Monitor yourself for tick-borne disease symptoms. If you become ill, you can have the tick tested for quicker diagnoses. Once a month has passed, you can simply throw the tick in the garbage.
We are committed to providing you the best most up-to-date information on the threat of tick-borne diseases in Central Mass. Stay tuned for the latest on ticks in the area. Be sure to follow the 6 C’s of tick control to make certain your yard is not inadvertently attracting ticks.