When you think of ticks, you may think of summer days, tall grass, or dogs. In the past, if you caught a tick, you didn’t think much about it. Pull it out, kill it, and move on. The were an an annoyance, to be sure, but not generally anything to be overly concerned about. Those ticks are still around and you will notice them by their bigger size and attraction to dogs. But, there is also another species of tick, called a deer tick, and it is not so benign.
Deer ticks, which are smaller and have black legs, are far more likely to carry disease. When they crawl under clothes and attach themselves to their host, they are also less likely to be noticed. But, here’s what you need to know about ticks and staying safe.
The don’t jump or fly. Which means, to get to your head where they want to be, they have to generally crawl all the way up the body. Keeping the lower half of the body well covered will hopefully help shake the little critters off before they get to their dinner table (also known as your ears).
Their Life Cycles are Similar
Regardless of type of tick, they hatch from eggs and go through three stages: larvae, nymph, and adult. If they are bigger than normal, they may be full or partially full.
You’re Not Safe in Winter
Not that it feels particularly like winter right now here in Texas, but ticks stay active through the winter. They are not deterred by freezing temperatures so unless it’s iced over, you could still be at risk.
They Carry Disease Causing Bacteria
Ticks today are simply more likely to harbor the bad stuff than ticks in the past. This is due to the growth of deer population. A number of diseases can be transmitted, so if you have any symptoms after being bitten, don’t hesitate to call the doctor.
You Have 24 Hours
That’s about the length of time between attaching and germy transmission. So, if you’re spending the day in the woods or going camping, a quick once over before bed should keep you safe.
Specifically the pointy kind. Grab the little pest as close to the skin as possible to prevent pushing any bacteria into your skin when you squish it.
Treat Your Pets and Other Precautions
- Keep your pet up to day with monthly tick repellents.
- Purchase clothing with tick repellent built in if you’re going to be hiking, hunting, or traveling in areas with more ticks.
- And don’t forget to do a body scan before tucking into your tent at night.