By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)– With summer in full swing, many of us spend the majority of our time participating in outdoor activities. While we are enjoying these outdoor activities, ticks can become an unwelcomed guest. There are many different species (kinds) of ticks in the world. The specimen pictured is a western black-legged tick. This species of tick is common in California and is known to spread certain diseases such as Lyme disease. Ticks are small Arachnids (a kind of animal that has eight legs and a body formed of two parts) which require a blood meal to complete their lifecycle.
Ticks bite many different animals (including people), and the animal they bite is called the host. Both males and females feed on blood; however, the female takes in the largest amount of blood, which is used to nourish eggs (sometimes over 1,000!). After taking her blood meal, the female drops off from the host and deposits her eggs on the ground. Ticks are often found in places where people hike, play, work or live. Adult ticks wait on vegetation to bite a large animal that passes by, including people, dogs, horses, and leaf litter. If you plan on visiting tick habitat, there are things you can do before, during and after your visit to protect yourself from ticks:
- Wear Light colored clothing.
- Wear Long sleeves and pants instead of shorts and short sleeves.
- Use an insect repellent made specifically for ticks.
- If you are hiking, stay in the center of the trail whenever possible!
- Check yourself and the people you are with often for ticks.
- Check your clothes for ticks which could be hiding in clothing, you don’t want to bring them inside.
- Take a shower! Showering is a good way to check your entire body for any unwanted 8-legged “hitch hikers”.
Even if you are careful when you visit a tick habitat, there is still a chance that you may be bitten by a tick; if this happens don’t panic. Follow these steps to remove a tick:
- Grasp the tick with tweezers or a tissue as close to your skin as possible (never with your bare hands).
- Firmly pull the tick from the skin; do not jerk, twist or unscrew the tick.
- DO NOT ATTEMPT TO REMOVE BY BURNING THE TICK, OR BY APPLYING VASELINE.
- Wash your hands and the bite site with soap and water after removing the tick, and apply an antiseptic to the bite site.
Consult your physician if the tick cannot be removed, part of it is left in the skin, or if you develop a rash or flu-like symptoms within 30 days of the tick bite. Learn more information about ticks from the CDC’s website.