Want to avoid tick-borne dis­eases?

Westside Eagle-Observer - - FARM AND HOME - STAFF RE­PORTS

ARKANSAS — Kelly Loftin, ex­ten­sion en­to­mol­o­gist at the Univer­sity of Arkansas, of­fered the fol­low­ing tips and in­for­ma­tion in a 2014 ar­ti­cle en­ti­tled “Arkansas tick sea­son re­turns in force” to re­duce the chance of con­tract­ing tick­borne ill­nesses.

■ Avoid tick-in­fested ar­eas, in­clud­ing dense veg­e­ta­tion, tall grass and the zones where open fields meet forested ar­eas.

■ Use tick re­pel­lents ac­cord­ing to la­bel in­struc­tions. In­sect re­pel­lents con­tain­ing DEET or cloth­ing-only re­pel­lents con­tain­ing per­me­thrin are most com­monly used.

■ Find and re­move ticks. Check your­self, your chil­dren and pets fre­quently for ticks. Wear light-col­ored cloth­ing in tick­in­fested ar­eas. Bathe or shower as soon as pos­si­ble after re­turn­ing from tick­in­fested ar­eas to wash off crawl­ing ticks and lo­cate at­tached ticks.

■ Cre­ate a tick-safe zone in your yard by clear­ing tall grass and brush around homes and at the edge of lawns. A three­foot-wide bar­rier of wood chips or gravel be­tween lawns and wooded ar­eas will re­strict tick mi­gra­tion into yards. Mow fre­quently, keep leaves raked, stack wood neatly and re­move old fur­ni­ture, mat­tresses or trash from yards.

■ Ex­am­ine gear — ticks can ride into the home on cloth­ing, pets, back­packs, etc.

■ Tum­ble clothes in a dryer on high heat for an hour to kill re­main­ing ticks.

■ Loftin said at­tached ticks should be re­moved promptly. If re­moved within a few hours after bit­ing, the chance of a tick-borne ill­ness is greatly re­duced. Use clean, fine-tipped tweez­ers, pulling up­ward with a steady pres­sure, Loftin said. Don’t twist or jerk the tick as this can cause mouth­parts to break off and re­main in the skin.

■ “Thor­oughly clean the bite area and your hands with al­co­hol, an io­dine scrub or soap and wa­ter,” Loftin said.

Loftin ad­vised know­ing the symp­toms of tick­borne dis­eases. If see­ing a health­care provider, they should be alerted to any tick ex­po­sure.

Tick-borne dis­eases can also cause se­ri­ous ill­ness in pets and other do­mes­tic an­i­mals, Loftin said. He ad­vised check­ing them fre­quently and us­ing tick­con­trol prod­ucts rec­om­mended by vet­eri­nar­i­ans.

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