Maine has many wooded and grassed in areas that are prime locations for ticks to inhabit. They are normally seen anywhere from April to the end of September or October. Primarily through the warmer months is when you will see higher volumes of tick populations. Although they are a nuisance, they should not defer you from going outdoors and doing your favorite activities.
We want to give you some tips and tricks to help deflect ticks from attaching and crawling on you and your pets. Ticks go for warm blooded animals (yes that includes humans) so you want to use caution when you are doing outdoor activities. It is important to always check yourself after you have been in one of these areas because you never know if one may have caught a ride on your pant leg. When you get home toss the clothes that you’re wearing into the dryer FIRST before washing your clothes because it will kill any ticks that may have attached. When you go outside, spray yourself with insect repellent that includes deet for your safety.
If you are trying to avoid using harsh chemicals on your body you can try a combination of essential oils.
This mixture is safe for you and your children:
- 20 drops of Lemongrass essential oils
- 20 drops of Eucalyptus essential oils
- Spray Bottle (spray around pant legs, ankles and shoes: the first initial areas where the ticks will try to tag along on).
If you have pets, we recommend that they are treated with some type of insect medication, most flea medications include some form of protection in each dosage that you give to your animal. As well as spraying them with pet-friendly repellent. Due to the abundance of fur, it is easier for the ticks to attach to your fur friends so it is always best to give them a check over whenever they come inside from being outdoors. That is often times how ticks are brought into houses. Ticks may also attach on the inside of your animals gums if they have been outside eating grass. If you are concerned that your animal has Lyme disease which is carried through deer ticks, you can go to the veterinarian’s office and have a test done to check for it.
If you do find a tick either crawling or attached, first remove it and then submerge it in rubbing alcohol or flush it down the toilet. You want to stay away from suffocating it with oils or other similar products to get the tick to release itself from you because it can actually purge the toxins that they carry inside of your skin as it is detaching.
Avoiding ticks: Tips from the CDC
- Choose light-colored clothing so it’s easier to spot ticks; wear long sleeves and tuck your pants into your socks.
- Use an EPA-approved insect repellent.
- Check your skin and clothing for ticks and remove them promptly. Don’t miss warm, moist areas such as the ears, armpits, and neck, and have someone else check your back.
- Wash possible tick bites with soap and water and apply an antiseptic.
- Keep your lawn mowed and tidy to remove tick habitat.
- If you spot an embedded tick, use a tick spoon or tweezers to grasp its mouth and pull it out with steady pressure. Don’t use petroleum jelly, hot matches or nail polish remover, which can increase the risk of infection
How to remove a tick
- Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.
- Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.
- After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.
- Dispose of a live tick by submerging it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag/container, wrapping it tightly in tape, or flushing it down the toilet. Never crush a tick with your fingers.