While partaking in High Country activities, such as hiking to a waterfall or overlook or fishing on the banks of one of the area’s stocked trout streams, the chances of picking up a tick are highest in the warm summer months. Because ticks carry diseases such as Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, it is important to prevent tick bites.
Tick prevention comes in several forms. A bug spray containing DEET will deter ticks from attaching to you. Other options include treating your clothes with a spray on insect repellant, which lasts through about six washes. Tick repellant clothing which protects wearers from ticks is another good option. This clothing provides protection from ticks which lasts through 70 washings.
When prevention isn’t possible, quick removal of the tick is essential. The longer a tick is attached, the greater chance that a disease will be transmitted. The only method which should be used for tick removal is the use of tweezers. Any other method, including squeezing the tick, putting alcohol on it, or holding a hot match to the tick will only increase the chances of spreading disease from the tick to your body.
To remove a tick, use a pair of tweezers and pinch the tick as close as possible to your skin. Pull in the opposite direction from which the tick is embedded.
Once the tick is removed, be sure to wash the bite area and your hands well with soap and water or alcohol to reduce the chance of infection. Place the tick in a plastic bag and write on it the date the tick was removed. In the event you begin experiencing symptoms related to a tick bite, the tick can be tested to determine whether or not it carried disease.
Be sure to call your doctor if you are unable to remove the tick, or if the ticks head remains in your skin after removal. It is time to call the doctor if you feel weak or very sick, have a headache or fever 2 to 14 days after the bite, a rash develops 2 to 14 days after the bite, or if the bite looks infected.
For more information on tick bite prevention or removal, visit the website for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at http://www.cdc.gov/ticks/