RVNAhealth Today – B.L.A.S.T for Tick-Borne Illness Prevention
As the weather warms and we find ourselves venturing into the great outdoors, or simply our backyards, be mindful that tick season is upon us. The CDC estimates over 476,000 people in the U.S. are infected with Lyme annually, with the majority of those cases concentrated in the Northeast and upper Midwest.
Adult blacklegged ticks (“deer ticks”) are commonly found this time of year, but currently, there are two new tick species invading our area: the Lone Star Tick, which is larger than a deer tick and more aggressive, and the Asian Long Horned tick, which can reproduce asexually and looks similar to a deer tick, so it is harder to identify. Scientists are still working to better understand the scope of pathogens these ticks carry and can transmit to humans.
Prevention and detection are critical. A local organization, LymeConnection.org, helped create the BLAST program to educate people on tick-borne disease prevention. Applicable to any type of tick, to reduce chances of tick bites and illness, the program recommends: Bathing within two hours of outdoor activity; Looking for ticks and rashes daily; Applying repellents to skin and clothing; Spraying your yard and maintaining tick-safe landscaping; and Treating pets with veterinarian recommended products.
Tick Prevention Kits are available for free, courtesy of LymeConnection.org. They contain a magnifying tweezer, information on tick removal, identification, and testing, and a sample insect repellent. Stop by Town Hall, The Health Department, or any of Lyme Connection’s functions to pick one up. If you do find a tick on your body, and have questions about removal or Lyme disease symptoms, contact your doctor.
Now, more than ever, it is important to stay aware of the latest tick and tick-borne illness information. Ticks may not be avoidable but being aware and prepared will help ensure safe and fun hours ahead outdoors.