It's summer, and people everywhere are taking advantage of the warm weather to spend more time outdoors - but making sure you're protected from ticks and mosquitos that can carry diseases is more important than ever!
Tick borne diseases:
According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of tick borne diseases more than doubled between 2004 and 2016. The CDC website is a great resource for information about ticks, prevention, diseases and more.
While many people are aware that mosquitos can spread diseases such as West Nile Virus (and there have already been cases in LA County in 2019), many people are unfamiliar with the diseases ticks can cause or how to protect themselves from ticks.
Ticks can cause potentially serious health conditions such as Lyme disease, Ehrlichiosis, Anaplasmosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Babesiosis, and red meat allergies. Symptoms of tick borne diseases can range from a fever and rash to memory problems, irregular heartbeat, organ failure and even death. However, when diagnosed promptly, most tick borne diseases can be treated with antibiotics.
Preventing tick bites:
According to Consumer Reports, the same insect repellents that work for mosquitos (10-35% Deet is recommended) can effectively help prevent ticks from attaching to you. You can read about Consumer Report's recommended insect repellents in their article The Great American Tick Invasion.
It's not enough to just spray exposed skin though - it is very important to check your (and children's) clothes and body for ticks after being outdoors in wooded or grassy areas. Once you are back indoors, place your clothes in the dryer on high temperature for 10 minutes and do a thorough body check. Be especially mindful of checking areas where ticks commonly attach to, such as your belly button and behind your knees.
If you find a tick, use a fine tipped pair of tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible and pull straight upward steadily. Tick borne diseases generally take over 24 hours to transmit, so it's best to check right away.
If you are seeing ticks or other potentially disease carrying vectors (mosquitos, rats, etc) in your home or office, you can now report them through 211 LA’s Vector Control Service Request form, and the local office responsible will follow up if action is needed. Reporting vectors is important to help preventing the spread of vector borne diseases!
by Barbara Marin, June 14, 2019