DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Summer in the DFW area is also the peak season for tick bites. This year’s rainfall and humid weather have sparked an increase in the pest population, but there are things that North Texans can do to avoid getting bitten while outdoors.
According to entomologists, the lack of a really cold winter combined with the long stretch of humid summer days has created a perfect combination for ticks. They will attach themselves to a person or animal and gorge on the blood before falling off. It is best to take steps to keep this from happening.
If you are hiking in the woods or running the trails during this time of the year, try to avoid areas with many trees or tall grass where a tick might live. Otherwise, you could be putting yourself at risk of getting bitten. And make sure to keep your pets in mind as well. Ticks and fleas are often brought into homes by animals.
When going outside, wear long sleeves and a hat, and use an insect repellant with DEET.
Once you are inside, the best thing that you can do to avoid tick bites is to shower immediately and perform a full body check for pests, on you and your kids. “There are certain areas that ticks like to migrate to in children,” stated Dr. Jeffrey Kahn, chief of infectious diseases of Children’s Health, “like the armpit, the elbow, behind the knees, skin folds, the belly button is a very common site, behind the ears because the skin tends to be very thin back there, and in the hair.”
If you do find a tick, use tweezers to remove the insect. “Grab the tick as close as possible to the skin and pull the tick out. The tick will be in pretty tight. The ticks produce almost like a cement, so it’s very difficult to get them out,” Kahn explained. “The important thing when you get it out is to wash the area thoroughly with soap and water, and I would use alcohol as well.”
The old suggestion about burning the tick off should not be done, Kahn added. That could cause more harm than good.
A variety of diseases can be transmitted through tick bites. While instances of Lyme disease are very rare in North Texas, it is still important to remain vigilant. After getting bitten, go see a doctor if you develop symptoms such as fever, aches and pains, a rash or ulcers.