Green Up VT and your backyard let’s us know it is spring. Ticks are becoming more prevalent all over New England and Lyme Disease has become “epidemic” in Vermont.
Prevention is key. Billions of nymphs the size of poppy seeds are waiting in leaf litter for a meal – you, a mouse, a rabbit, etc. Adult ticks are fewer, but equally as hungry, and hang out in damp areas or under cover where they don’t dry out, especially on deer feeding in your backyard. Children are at highest risk of infection – think about it.
Wear light colored, long sleeves and pants that have snug cuffs, or pull your geeky white socks over your pant bottoms. Long hair? Tie it up. Wear rubber boots if you have them. Tuck in your shirt, keep the ticks away from your skin! Do frequent “tick checks,” take your clothing off at the door and put it in the dryer for half an hour, shower/bathe using a wash cloth or scrubby all over your body to knock of any loose ticks. Check all folds, cracks, hair, belly button, ears, etc. to feel for tiny ticks (easier on wet skin), and do so for a couple of days. Check your pets. Check your kids again. Did you check your backpack or gear?
There is a reduction of 80% infection rate in tick endemic areas when people bathe shortly after exposure! Safely remove any embedded ticks ASAP! Want to learn about repellents for kids? Visit www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-play/Pages/Insect-Repellents.aspx