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Fact or Fiction: What You Think You Know About Ticks and What You Don’t

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It is tick season in the Tri-State and their populations are booming. Along with the growing number of ticks are an equal number of myths about how they affect people, where they live and how to get rid of the little diggers. It seems everyone has some method for dealing with ticks and it turns out that a lot of what we thought we knew is wrong. There was a time when ticks  didn’t carry that many diseases, but the game has changed thanks in part to the large numbers of white-tailed deer. Those deer have brought different species of ticks that carry many different diseases.  Let’s look at four particular myths and get the facts from Prevention Magazine.

Myth #1: If you get bitten by a tick you WILL get sick.

Fact: You certainly can get sick if you are bitten, but only if you do nothing about it. If you can remove the tick within 24 hours, you will most likely be fine.

Myth #2: Removal of a tick can be done with perfume, alcohol, Vaseline or by lighting a match next to it.

Fact: Not true. The best way to remove a tick is to grab as much the tick as possible with a pair of tweezers and gently pull it straight out, no twisting. Then wash your hands and disinfect the bite area with rubbing alcohol.

Myth #3: You WILL know if you have been bitten.

Fact: Tick bites, believe it or not, are painless and not everybody gets the red dot with a bullseye pattern around the bite.Symptoms of Lyme disease are mainly flu-like symptoms that may not show up for for two to three months.

Myth #4: Ticks die every winter

Fact: Adult deer ticks start their feeding activity around the first frost. Ticks will only die off if the temperature dips to below 10 degrees F for a long period of time. Even at that temperature, not all ticks are not dead, it is just more difficult for them to attach to a host.

Hope that helps and be careful. One other thing by the way, ticks don’t fall from trees, they crawl up to wherever they decide to set up camp on your body. If you have one on your head, it crawled up your body to get there…just in case you were wondering.

[Prevention Magazine]


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