January is the traditional time of year when many of us make New Year’s resolutions…
At Price Skin Care of Ridgeland, Mississippi we’re committed to helping you take care of your skin – and avoiding nerve-wracking itching, pain and disease from nature’s nasties like chiggers, ticks and poison plants.
If you’re a hunter – or married to one – make plans to protect yourself or your loved one from the elements of nature that can ruin your fun.
In part two of this three-part series, we’ll discuss ticks in terms of what they are, what kind of damage they do, how to avoid them and what to do if you come into contact with them.
Ticks: Hunting the Hunter
With hunting season open, hunters are invading the fields and forests on weekends, anxious to bag their game.
But also invading the fields and forests are pesky little creatures called ‘ticks’ that are not only a nuisance for hunters and their dogs, but carry deadly disease as well.
Ticks are bigger and darker than chiggers so if you look for them, you stand a good chance of seeing them. Conversely, ticks are more dangerous than chiggers as they carry diseases like ‘Lymes’.
So for your health’s sake and that of your hunting dogs, you should take care to avoid tick habitats and regularly check yourself and your dog to ensure you haven’t picked up any hitchhikers.
Below are six tips to help you do that as well as some tips on what to do if bitten.
Tip # 1: Keep away from tick hangouts
Ticks like to crawl up bushes, weeds and other vegetation and lie in wait for a warm-blooded body to walk by. They’re adept at grabbing onto people, pets and other animals and latching onto a cozy piece of skin. You’ll minimize your risk of picking up ticks if you keep away from areas where you brush up against vegetation. And if possible, stick to trails already forged in fields and forests, where vegetation is minimized.
Tip # 2: Dress to avoid pests
Wearing light-colored clothing will improve your chances of seeing ticks crawling on you. Wear long pants, and tuck them into your socks to keep ticks from crawling up your boots and onto your legs. And keep your shirt tucked into your waistband to keep the creatures from finding their way onto your torso.
Tip #3: Do spot checks
Make sure to do spot checks of your boots, legs and torso, looking for the tiny critters. If you see them, brush them off or flick them with your finger and make sure you’re not standing in the middle of a tick-infested zone. If you see more, move!
Tip #4: Use insect repellent
Even the most vigilant hunter will miss the occasional tick sneaking up a leg or across an arm. Insect repellents containing diethyl meta-toluamide (DEET) or Permethrin will help protect you from ticks. Spray the repellent that contains DEET at the tops of your socks, your waist, and even your ankles.
Caution: You can apply DEET to your clothes and skin, but wash your skin as soon as possible. Do not use a repellant with Permethrin on your skin. These repellents can cause burning or itching on your skin so use them on your clothes, boots and camping equipment.
Tip #5: Strip and search
Once you’re back at camp – or home – strip down and check your body for ticks: your scalp, arm and legs, and any crevice that provides a warm hiding place. If you hunt with dogs, check them too.
Tip #6: Final Precaution : High Heat
As a final precaution, throw your clothes in the dryer and tumble them on high heat. Research shows that while washing clothes in hot water does not kill ticks, throwing them in a hot dry air will.
If all else fails and you find a tick attached to your skin or that of your dog:
1) Don’t panic! Most ticks do not carry disease and most bites are not harmful.
2) Remove the tick carefully. Use tweezers if necessary in order to get the entire body and head of the tick. Because some ticks are small, it may be difficult to tell if you’ve removed all of the tick from the skin. If you see signs of infection, consult your doctor.
3) Don’t try to smother the tick with gasoline, vasoline or anything else – this may increase your risk of infection. Also, don’t try to burn it off with a hot needle or match!
4) Put the tick in a jar or baggie and place in the freezer. It may be needed later for identification.
5) Wash the area with warm water and soap, and apply an antibiotic ointment.
6) If the bite causes pain or itching, apply an ice pack to the affected area 15 minutes each hour for the first six hours. Try a calamine lotion or a cream with hydrocortisone to relieve the itching.
7) If the affected area does not clear up within a few days, or gets worse, consult your physician.