It's become a part of our daily routine.
"Children 5-13 years old are particularily at risk for tick bites and lyme disease because playing outside has been identified as a high-risk activity", says Dr. Kirby Stafford III, Chief Entomologist with the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. He added, "after the long winter, I expect the tick population to be a bit higher this year." We already found one after a trip to a local farmers market. It's an unfortunate part of spending summers outside in New England. Ticks aren't just a nuisance, they can be dangerous. According to Dr. Stafford's Tick Management Handbook, "there are at least eleven recognized human diseases associated with ticks in the United States." It includes pictures of what to look for, including that "bulls-eye" rash everyone talks about. The handbook, which is chock full of information about everything from the history of ticks to how to limit them in your yard, is available online. It states, "there are a number of factors contributing to the rise in Lyme Disease, including overabundant deer population, increased recognition of the disease and more residences in wooded areas." It also details which ticks are attracted to which animals and how to keep them out of your yard. It includes pictures of how to decrease ticks in your yard, for example, just by adding a little mulch and keeping up with the mowing. Some other tips include "wear light colored clothing with long pants tucked into your socks, don't wear open toed shoes or sandals, keep to the center of trails when hiking to minimize contact with vegetation."
Dr. Stafford says "tick checks are extremely important in the prevention of Lyme disease... one case-control study showed that bathing within 2 hours of being outdoors was preventative for Lyme disease." But, if you find a tick, check out page 68, there is an entire section devoted on how to remove it correctly, complete with pictures. Also worth noting, DEET has been shown to provide some protection against ticks, but according to Dr. Stafford's handbook, "the American Academy of Pediatrics doesn't recommend DEET on children under 2 months old... a concentration of DEET up to 30% is recommended for adults and children over 2 years of age is the maximum concentration." BUT, before using it, check with your pediatrician.