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Check Your Loved Ones and Yourself for Ticks!

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Q: How can I prevent tick bites and reduce the risk of subsequent infection?A: It’s not easy, but not complicated. You cannot get Lyme disease or any other tick-borne illness if you don’t get bitten. What’s the best way to prevent bites? I would suggest locking yourself in a white room without windows deep in the interior of a building and never coming out. Since that’s not possible for most people, I recommend that we conduct thorough tick checks correctly and as often as possible on ourselves, our children and our animals.

Q: How do I conduct a thorough check?
A: The first step is to get naked as soon as you get in from outdoors. Before you go traipsing through your house like Tinkerbelle dropping ticks like flecks of fairy dust, strip down and put those clothes in a hot dryer for about 15 to 20 minutes. If it’s winter, keep them in a bit longer. Ticks hate dry heat as much as we hate ticks. Next, go into a very well-lighted room with a mirror. Most bathrooms fit the bill. Then methodically examine your body head-to-toe, front-to back. If you really want to make tick checks fun, invite someone else to help and then return the favor.  

Ticks love hard-to-reach and -see areas of your body, so please look closely between your toes, behind your knees, in your crotch/groin area, around your belt line, in your belly button, under your arms, the back of your neck and behind your ears

Finally, when you are relaxing in front of the TV or reading, simply continuously run your fingers through your hair and on your scalp to feel for anything unusual. Follow the same procedures for your kids. If they are young enough for you to check them, try using a flashlight and magnifying glass. If they are old enough to not let you check them, please make sure they do a good job themselves.

Q: What about my pets?
A: Pets love tick checks! Examine your pet thoroughly from tail to nose, and you might even get a few sloppy licks in return. Keep in mind, ticks like to embed themselves in the neck, head and around the ears of animals, so pay particular attention to these areas. Searching is made easier by separating the fur and examining the skin. Again, just be thorough.

Ticks are very persistent little parasites and constant vigilance is highly suggested to keep as safe as possible. Tick checks are an important component of one’s prevention regimen. If you discover a tick, it is extremely important to remove it ASAP, and to do so correctly.

Written by: Dan Wolf

Dan Wolff, a.k.a. Tick Man Dan, is an outdoorsman, pet lover and a devoted father from Waltham, Massachusetts, with a degree in business from Skidmore College. When he moved to the suburbs, he found that the tick population was out of control and the act of preventing and removing them was a struggle even with products already on the market. To combat this problem, he founded TickEase, Inc. and created an effective dual-purpose tweezer-like tick removal device. TickEase, Inc.’s mission is to provide safe and effective tools for removing and repelling ticks, facilitate tick testing and educate the public for the prevention of tick-borne illnesses such as Lyme disease; the company is a Prevention Partner of the University of Rhode Island’s TickEncounter Resource Center. You can find Tick Ease products in most Bed, Bath and Beyond stores in the capital region.