Wednesday, May 2, 2012 - 6:48am
Seasonal Tips to Help Prevent Lyme Disease
The outdoor joys and chores of springtime bring with them the reminder that we share the outdoor environment with a number of unattractive tiny critters including the deer or black legged tick. While common in much of Wisconsin, the presence of deer ticks was actually confirmed here in Dane County for the first time last summer.
These poppy seed sized ticks carry a surprisingly long list of diseases, but the one that we worry about most in this part of the country is Lyme disease. Untreated Lyme disease can be very serious, but early antibiotic treatment is quite effective. The best strategy however, is prevention.
Prevention can be as simple as making sure you don't get bitten by a tick. The standard advice includes avoiding wooded, bushy areas, using insect repellant and checking yourself, children, and pets for ticks when returning indoors. In addition to these personal protection steps a strategic combination of landscaping and pesticides can make your own backyard an uninviting location for ticks.
The single judicious use of a special tick pesticide such as bifenthin, can make a difference in reducing the number of ticks in your yard.
Landscaping strategies to minimize ticks include:
• Frequent mowing and raking
• Clearing tall grasses and brush around your house and at the edge of your lawns
• Removing any old furniture, mattresses, or trash from the yard that may give ticks a place to hide
• Stacking wood neatly and in a dry area (which discourages rodents that tick feed on).
• Keeping playground equipment, decks, and patios away from yard edges and trees and placing them in a sunny location, if possible.
If despite these prevention efforts you do find a tick on your skin, use thin bladed tweezers to slowly remove it. Folk remedies like petroleum jelly, nail polish remover or burning matches DO NOT WORK, and are not safe.
Consult a physician as soon as possible if a tick has been attached for 24 or more hours, if tick removal is incomplete or if a "bull's eye" rash appears at the bite area.
For more detailed information on ticks and Lyme disease: http://www.cdc.gov/ticks/diseases/
For more details on how to keep ticks out of you backyard,
- Jeff Golden, (608) 243-0302