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News > Tis the season for ticks
Tis the season for ticks

Posted 4/25/2013   Updated 4/26/2013 Email story   Print story


by Staff Sgt. Samoeutroeutteana Beckett
66th Medical Squadron Public Health

4/25/2013 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass.  -- The 66th Medical Squadron Public Health office offers the following information about ticks and tick-borne diseases. For more information, go to cdc.gov.

Did you know?

· Ticks are arachnids, relatives of spiders.
· Ticks live in wooded areas, brushy fields, and around the home.
· Ticks are most active in warmer months, April through September.
· Ticks survive by eating blood from their hosts.
· Ticks can pass infections from one host to the next, including humans.
· Massachusetts is home to four different types of ticks: American dog tick, Blacklegged tick, Brown dog tick, Lone star tick.
· Lyme disease, babesiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Tularemia are a few disease associated with the different types of ticks found in Massachusetts.
· Symptoms of tick-borne illness are usually similar. The most common symptoms of tick-related are: fever or chills, aches and pains and a rash. It is extremely important that personnel contact their doctor if experiencing any of the symptoms.
· The "target" lesion on patients is common with Lyme disease.
· Reducing exposure to ticks is the best defense against Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and other tick-borne infections. There are several approaches used to prevent and control tick-borne diseases:

  · Avoid wooded and bushy areas with high grass and leaf litter.
  · Walk in the center of trails.
  · Adults should use repellents that contain 20 percent or more DEET on the exposed skin for protection and children should use repellents with less than 10 percent DEET.
  · Find and remove ticks as soon as possible after coming indoors, preferably within two hours.
  · Conduct a full-body tick check using a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of the body.
  · Pay attention to under the arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button, behind the knees, between the legs, around the waist and especially in the hair.
  · Check each other.
  · Create a tick-safe zone to reduce ticks in the yard.
  · Remove leaf litter.
  · Clear tall grasses and brush around homes and at the edge of lawns.
  · Mow the lawn frequently.
  · Discourage unwelcome animals from entering a yard by constructing fences.

When it comes to tick removal, personnel should avoid folklore remedies such as "painting" the tick with nail polish, petroleum jelly or using heat to make the tick detach from the skin.

To effectively remove the tick, use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin's surface as possible. Pull upward with steady, even pressure. The goal is to remove all of the tick. Do not leave the tick's head in the skin, because it can lead to an infection. After removing it, thoroughly clean the bite area and hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub or soap and water.

Hanscom community members can submit a tick to the Public Health office in the clinic for further testing Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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