Ticks have been bad in north central Arkansas ever since the spring of 2011, even throughout the "winter" months in unusual numbers. In particular, there are a lot of seed ticks, say park officials.
Coming into contact with ticks in this part of the country is normal and those who live here generally know the common-sense steps to take to minimize tick contacts and tick bites. Avoiding tick habitat, including grassy, brushy, and wooded areas, doesn't leave much else but gravel bars, parking lots, and lake surfaces.
However, just knowing that you may be entering such areas will help with the next level of preventive measures:
- Use 20%-30% DEET insect repellant on exposed skin and clothing (yes, there are risks associated with using DEET, too). Premethrin is a chemical which will kill ticks on contact but should not be applied to the skin.
- Wear long pants, long sleeves, long socks; tuck pant legs into sock tops or wear gaiters to help keep ticks away from the skin.
- Check clothes for ticks, preferably before going indoors, and check all skin surfaces to eliminate ticks before they begin the process of biting you. This goes for your pets, too. They often bring these hitch-hikers indoors with them where they end up in surprising places.
And don't turn your back on tried and true techniques, such as keeping a roll of duct tape handy to wrap around the palm of your hand, sticky side out, to remove seed ticks. Whatever works!
Click here for more information on ticks and their health risks to humans from the Centers for Disease Control website.
Image courtesy: CDC website.