Summer is here! To keep you and your loved ones healthy and safe this season, the Cambridge Public Health Department has created a summer safety series.
For our first topic, we’ll be focusing on tick bites and how to prevent them. Tick bites can happen year-round, but ticks are most active during warmer months. Certain kinds of ticks can bite and make you sick with diseases such as Lyme disease and Powassan virus. Ticks are tiny bugs and most commonly found in damp, grassy, brushy, or wooded areas, including your own backyard. Ticks only attach when you come into direct contact with them — they cannot jump or fly.
Follow these steps to help protect yourself from tick bites:
- Check yourself for ticks once a day. Remember to check your children and pets, too. Checking is the single most important thing you can do!
- Use repellents with an EPA-registered active ingredient; always follow the directions on the label.
- Wear light-colored clothing to be able to see ticks more easily.When it’s not too hot outside, tuck shirts into pants and pants into socks to cover gaps in your clothing where ticks can get in.
- Shower soon after being outdoors. Showering may help wash off unattached ticks and it is a good opportunity to do a tick check.
- Don’t spend a lot of time in potentially tick-infested habitats such as tall grass and shrubs.
- Stick to main pathways and the center of trails when hiking.
- Pets that spend time outdoors are exposed to ticks, too, and may bring ticks back inside. Talk to your veterinarian about the best ways to protect your animals from ticks and tick-borne disease.
If you find a tick, you should use a pair of fine point tweezers to grip the tick as close to the skin as possible and pull straight out with steady pressure. The CDC has more information on how to remove a tick.
Talk to your doctor if you (or a loved one) develop a rash where you were bitten or experience symptoms such as fever, headache, fatigue, or sore and aching muscles.