These days, there are many ways to keep ticks at bay

Sad to say, but those who know say this is a banner year for ticks, and these blood-sucking little buggers can be found almost everywhere.

As a turkey hunter, I’m in the woods nearly every day so I’m aware of the possibility of being infected with Lyme disease. As a result, I’ve taken the precaution of spraying my socks, pants, shirts, sleeves, collars and hat with Permethrin, a chemical proven safe for humans when used as directed.

Permethrin is a pesticide that, when sprayed on clothing, kills a range of insects, including blackflies, ticks, and mosquitoes. It’s the active ingredient used in a variety of products, including Bug Blocker, Insect Shield and Buzz Off.

Products containing Permethrin may be purchased almost anywhere sporting goods are sold and it can be sprayed on your clothes to provide some measure of protection from these insects – especially ticks.

Once applied, clothing can be laundered from four to six times before another application is needed. Permethrin was developed by the U.S. military to protect soldiers from insects in the jungle.

Taking steps to prevent tick bites while in the woods is one thing, but what to do if one is discovered after a hike, picnic or after cutting the lawn? We’ve all seen well-intentioned but not necessarily accurate instructions on how to remove a tick once it’s been discovered, but it seems some of these tick removal instructions are considered out of date.

In the past, some instructions said to coat the body of the tick with petroleum jelly, gasoline or other substance while other instructions said to touch the protruding end of the tick with the hot end of a match and wait for it to back out.

Today, the most commonly recommended and successful tick-removal method is manual extraction of the tick, and medium-tipped, angled tweezers offer the best result.

Another perhaps simpler way to remove a newly discovered tick is by using an available online medical patch system called Rid-A Tick. Each economically priced patch is made from 3M medical tape and carries FDA approval. Once a tick is discovered, a patch is applied to the deeply embedded tick and gently pressed in place. After a brief waiting period of a few minutes or, in an extreme case if the tick is deeply embedded, up to an hour, the patch is removed and folded in half to encapsulate the tick. If the tick needs to be examined by a physician, the entire insect is neatly captured both head and body.

The patch can be applied to pets as well. If the patch is used on your canine, a 20-minute waiting period is recommended.

After a tick is removed, an antiseptic solution should be applied to the attachment site and patients should be educated about the signs and symptoms of the possibility of local and systemic illness.

As to whether to apply an antibiotic prophylaxis, the jury is still out. Most experts, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Infectious Diseases Society of America, do not recommend routine antibiotic prophylaxis. Just be sure to keep the area clean and watch for the possibility of infection.

Categories: New York – Mike Raykovicz

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