I subscribe to the, “love where you live” motto and although I’m not the most nature, heat, humidity, or dirt-loving girl in the world, I do love to spend time outside with my family. We are lucky enough to live in a place where we can play outside year round, but we aren’t the only ones. Ticks, those little blood-sucking vectors, love the NC climate.
Our state is a year-round hot spot for ticks, with its peak occurring during the summer months, and Chatham County is at the center of it all. With more tick-borne illnesses then any other county in the state (according to the Chatham County Department of Health), the county has initiated a program to educate the community on tick bite prevention, tick removal, and even provide tick removal kits.
Ideally, wearing tick repellent on your body and clothing (and taking additional measures to prevent tick bites when you are in higher risk areas) will keep you from having to break out your tick removal kit, but there is no such thing as being too prepared, especially when you have young kids!
Here are some of our top TIPS for keeping TICKS away!
1. Wear long pants tucked into socks and bright clothing so ticks are easier to spot on yourself.
2. Remove clothing and place in dryer on high for 15 minutes, the heat will kill any ticks left in clothing. (The wash cycle doesn’t kill all ticks, as some are able to live in water.)
3. Shower immediately upon returning home from hikes / other activities involving potential tick exposure.
4. Check yourself, your children, your partner (hey, you can make it fun!) for what may look like anything from a clearly recognizable tick to a tiny black dot.
5. If you find a tick, remove it immediately following the instructions provided in your kit. It's always helpful to review the instructions and contents when you receive your kit, so that you don’t have to do so during a tick emergency!
Remember, if you remove a tick, SAVE IT in a zip-lock bag and keep an eye out for any early signs and symptoms of tick-borne illness such as flu-like symptoms, body aches, lethargy, low-grade fever or a “bulls eye” rash circling the bite. If these symptoms are present, seek medical attention immediately as antibiotics may be necessary.
Stay safe and alert when enjoying your NC summertime, mamas!