My family has been planning a camping trip for this weekend for a few months now. We have everything ready to go, but I hope we don’t forget the tweezers!
The Forest Preseve District of Will County published a nice refresher course on how to avoid, identify and treat ticks if you encouter them while you are enjoying the great outdoors. The entire article is worth a read, but here were my takeaways:
- Ticks can spread disease, so this is important.
- In Illinois, adult ticks are most active in April, May and June.
- Ticks in Illinois are found in grasses and shrubs, not in trees, and can not fly or jump. That means if you are hiking its best to avoid the edges of the trails, wear pants, and light colored clothing so they are easy to spot if you do pick one up.
- Use insect and tick repellents containing 10 to 30 percent DEET, but apply sparingly to exposed skin and avoid sensitive areas. Always follow the label directions when applying repellents.
- If you do find a tick, remove it immediately. If it’s already embedded itself, use tweezers and apply slow, steady pressure to remove it, not using more force than necessary. Don’t jerk or twist while pulling because that can cause the mouthparts to break off and remain in the skin.
- Once a tick is removed, wash the site of the bite as well as your hands with soap and warm water and use an antiseptic on and around the area of the bite. Many people have heard old wives’ tales about tick removal, but those tricks – burning a tick with a match or covering it with nail polish or petroleum jelly – should be avoided.
The University of Illinois runs the “I-Tick” program aimed at monitoring when and where we are finding these little jackwagons. You can read more about that HERE.
Have fun out there!