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Spring into Safety – Beat the Bite

- June 16, 2014 by Guest Bloggers (View all posts by Guest)

Ticks and Lyme disease have become a common hazard in my household, especially with the weather warming up.  The months of May through September are peak season for ticks.  I am constantly checking my dog and my kids for these little monsters.  If your employees work outside in an area prone to ticks, they should be aware of this exposure and have steps to take for protection.

Lyme disease is transmitted by ticks that feed on deer and mice. It’s estimated that the disease is transmitted within 6 to 24 hours of the tick being attached to the skin. According to Cal OSHA, between 15 and 30 percent of ticks are infected by Lyme disease.

I once found a deer tick on my daughter, and I immediately called the pediatrician who instructed me that since the tick wasn’t there for more than a few hours that I should watch the area carefully for a red rash with a ring around the area, known as a “bull’s eye.”

There is always bug repellant, but how well does that really work? Here are some great tips for avoiding these pests, whether you are working outside, at a soccer game, or just walking the dog.

  • Wear light colored clothing, so ticks can be easily seen. Clothing should cover most of the body; long sleeves, pants and hats. You can also tuck your pants into your boots.
  • Wash clothing in hot water after being outdoors.
  • Check your body very closely after being outside, especially in areas that bend, like the backs of knees and between fingers and toes; areas where clothing is pressed against the skin like belts and necklines; and other areas that ticks can hide like the hairline, ears and navel. Ticks like to hide in the scalp, groin area, arm pits and behind the knees.
  • To remove ticks, use fine-point tweezers to grab the tick at the head, closest to the skin, and pull firmly and slowly. Do not attempt to rip the tick out, as the head will stay in the skin.
  • Be sure to clean the wound with antiseptic and watch the site for symptoms of irritation.  A bull’s eye rash is an indication of exposure to Lyme disease.   If you notice this rash, contact a doctor immediately to obtain treatment.
  • Put the tick in a sealed container and take it to your local health department for testing.

As with any other medical condition, contact your doctor if you see signs of irritation or illness.

References:

“Time to Prepare for Lyme Disease and Other Tick-Borne Illnesses.” Ca-safety.com. BLR—Business and Legal Resources. 26 Mar 2014. Web. 26 Mar. 2014. < http://www.ca-safety.com/public/Time-to-Prepare-for-Lyme-Disease-and-Other-TickBorne-Illnesses.cfm?affid=wbk1413&utm_source=CER&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=Ealert>