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Tick Borne Diseases & How to Protect Yourself Gary Howey

   If you look through your states Game, Fish and Parks, D.N.R. web page or calendars you are going to find all most of the hunting seasons, including deer, turkey, trapping, antelope and pheasant but there is one you will not find there, and that is the tick season.

   Just because you cannot find it listed, do not let that stop you from being prepared for this season in the same way you would prepare for any other season.

  Ticks are those small, sometimes minute disease-carrying insects found just about anywhere, you would find vegetation, grass and wooded areas.

   Once on your skin, they look for a warm moist area to embed themselves to gouge on your or your pets blood.

   They come out in the spring, about the time outdoorsmen and women head into the woods looking for morel mushrooms, wild asparagus or hunting turkeys.

  However, spring is not the only time you will see ticks as these pests hang around all summer on into the fall.

  There are two groups of ticks, the hard or soft ticks. In our area, you will run into the hard ticks, those we see in wooded, grassy, and densely vegetated areas.

  The soft ticks like to live in bird nests, on rodents, and on bats but either can find their way onto our bodies luckily, no species of ticks solely depend on in order to with some ticks are only found on a certain host; luckily and we are not one of them.

  Female tick can are good at what they do, and can lay an enormous number of eggs, anywhere from three thousand up to eleven thousand eggs, so we need to be aware of them and keep them from hitching a ride on us.

  There is really only one way to avoid the possibility of becoming infected with a tick borne disease and that is to avoid areas they inhabit, “DUH”, like that is going to happen, if you are an outdoorsmen or women like me who spends every spare moment we have, out in the field or woods.

  Since we know we are going to be “out and about”, in the same areas where ticks inhabit, here are a few simple precautions that can reduce your chances of a close tick encounter.

  Because ticks crawl upwards onto a host, it is a good idea to cut off any route they might have as they attempt to get on your skin. It is an excellent idea when you are out in the field and woods to tuck your pants legs into your boots.

  To keep ticks from going from your pants, under your shirt and onto your skin, tuck your shirt into your pants and for extra protection, you can tape your pant leg shut with duct tape.

  When out in the outdoors, it is a good idea to wear light-colored clothing whenever you are in an area where you may run into ticks. That way, ticks are easier to see before they find their way onto your body.

  Use a repellent that contains 0.5 percent or more of Permethrin, as it works great as a tick repellent and used on clothing. It is long lasting with some products containing Permethrin remaining bonded with clothing fibers even through laundering.

Several sizes and varieties of ticks shown on a finger, those insects that would love to make you their host. They come in different sizes and colors and the photo will give you an idea on what to look for after you return from a trip into the woods and the outdoors. (Submitted Photo)

  Upon returning from a trip into the outdoors, you will want to check inspect all your clothing before entering your house or shop. When you do get inside, do a body inspection, checking closely for embedded ticks and wash your clothing shortly after returning from your trip.

  Ticks do not just bother humans, they embed themselves on all animals, including deer, so do not forget to check over your dog if it was along on the trip forget to check your pet for ticks. At certain times of the year, some veterinarians offer a dog sip. These available commercial treatments should contain either Amitrax or Permethrin. These can provide two to three weeks per treatment for your dog. Contact your local veterinary service to have them prescribe the best treatment options,

  When you find a tick attached to your body, the tick should be removed as soon as possible and the affected area disinfected immediately.

  Research has shown the best way to remove a tick is to grasp the tick close to the skin with fine-tipped tweezers, placing the tweezers close to the skin so that you grasp the base of the tick’s mouth parts rather than its body. Pull gently but firmly, straight away from the skin until the tick comes free. Keep in mind that it is best to grasp the tick from its back to its belly, instead of from side to side – this helps to prevent the tick’s mouth parts from remaining embedded in the skin. The sooner you remove a tick, the better.

  Ticks transmit several diseases; one of the most common diseases is Lyme disease. Other tick-borne diseases found occasionally in the upper Midwest are Ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Tularemia.

  If bitten by a tick, Lyme disease may be there for several weeks without out you becoming ill, which makes diagnosis difficult. If left untreated, you could be in for years of physical pain, as well as mental impairment. The other three diseases mentioned above often show signs within two to five days of a tick bite. These may progress so quickly that a day or two of delay in diagnosis and treatment may result in death.

  If you have severe or persistent headaches, fever, soreness or stiffness in muscles and joints, appetite loss, fatigue, or a skin rash occur within three weeks after a tick bite, immediately contact your doctor. Early diagnosis and treatment is very important in stopping theses diseases.

  To preventing tick borne disease, you need to cover up and use a repellent that contains Permethrin.

  You can never be too careful when you head for the woods as ticks are there, just waiting for their next warm-blooded host to walk by, before heading out, use these tips to protect yourself and your hunting dogs.