It is tick season in The United States. Whether it is The American Dog Tick (a carrier of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Tularemia), the Blacklegged Tick (most in famous for spreading Lyme, Anaplasmosis, and Babesiosis), the Dog Tick (carrier of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever), or the easiest of the bunch to identify, the Lone Star Tick (carrier of Ehrlichiosis, Tularemia and STARI), ticks are omnipresent at this time of year no matter where you live. If you live on the East Coast, chances are that you know someone who has recently removed a tick or has been diagnosed with Lyme’s disease. There is so much confusion when it comes to this topic and so back by popular demand, the Dr. Dana Tick Blog. Here are some tips and resources to help you and your family stay safe this summer!
· Check for ticks daily, especially under the arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button, behind the knees, between the legs and in the buttocks, around the waist, and on the hairline and scalp. Children should be checked every night at bath time as part of your spring/summer routine if you live in a tick endemic area.
· If you have spent time in a wooded or grassy area remove, wash and dry all clothing on high heat and shower as soon as possible.
· Permethrin based insect repellant can be very effective for tick prevention. The product should be sprayed on clothing or shoes and NOT directly on skin. Several brands such as Repel are available on-line.
· Create a “tick-safe” yard by mowing the lawn frequently, keeping leaves raked, and having children play away from tall grasses. Consider having your property sprayed.
· Treat your dogs and cats as recommended by your veterinarian. Do not allow them into your bed or on your furniture, as they are a possible vector for carrying ticks.
How to safely remove an attached tick:
· Fine tipped tweezers are best.
· Place tweezers as close to the skin as possible. Try to grab at the base of the tick (the tick’s head). Pull upward with a slow and steady motion. Do not be alarmed if part of the tick remains embedded, as disease transmission is not possible without the whole tick. Try to remove the remaining segments.
· Wash the area with soap and water.
· Put the tick in a sealed baggie ie. a ziplock™ and label the bag with the date the tick was removed and location. Your dermatologist can have the tick analyzed to identify the type of tick as well as whether that particular tick has the organisms within it that cause disease. This information can be very helpful in guiding therapy.
Important tick facts:
· In general ticks need to be attached for 36-48 hours before they can transmit Lyme disease bacteria.
· If you find a tick that has likely been attached to your skin for less than 72 hours and you are >8 years old, an important study has shown that taking one dose of Doxycycline can dramatically reduce your chance of getting Lyme’s Disease. (87% effective) Call your dermatologist to discuss the best approach for you.
· There are several different types of ticks (Ixodes, Lone Star, Dog Tick etc), and each tick has different stages of growth when they may or may not carry disease. This is why identifying the tick can be very helpful.
· Most humans are infected through bites of immature ticks called nymphs. Nymphs are tiny (less than 2mm) and difficult to see without a magnifier; they feed during spring and summer months.
· Ticks can be carried by deer, rabbits, birds, squirrels, mice, dogs and cats and therefore all of these animals are potential vectors for the spread of tick-born illness.
Please call my office if you would like to come in to have a tick tested or if you have any tick related questions or symptoms.
In The Country, we are located at 325 Meetinghouse Lane, Southampton
In The City we are located at 905 Fifth Avenue at 72nd Street
www.drdanastern.com (for direction to the offices)
Tick Resources: Tick Hotline 631.726-TICK; Eastendtickresources.org & Tickencounter.org