People often ask me how to prevent tick bites and reduce the risk of subsequent infection. Well folks, it is not that complicated…it’s not easy, but not complicated. You cannot get Lyme disease or any other tick-borne illness if you don’t get bitten. So, what’s the best way to prevent bites? I would suggest locking yourself in a white room without windows deep in the interior of a building, and never coming out. Since that is not possible for most people, I recommend that we conduct thorough tick checks correctly and as often as possible on ourselves, our children and our animals.
Here’s my first suggestion: Get Naked. I mean it, get naked and do it as soon as you get in from outdoors. Before you go trapesing through your house like TinkerBell dropping ticks like flecks of fairy dust, strip down and put those clothes in a hot dryer for about 15 to 20 minutes. If it’s winter, keep them in a bit longer. Ticks hate dry heat as much as we hate ticks. Now comes the fun part! Drag your naked body into a very well-lighted room with a mirror. Most bathrooms fit the bill. Then, I want you to methodically examine your body head-to-toe, front-to back. If you really want to make tick checks fun, invite someone else to help and then return the favor. You never know what might happen : ). Ticks love hard to reach and see areas of your body, so please look closely at the following:
- Between your toes
- Behind your knees
- In your crotch/groin area
- Around your belt line
- In your belly button (I have had 2 ticks feed in there. Must have been hard with all that lint!)
- Under your arms
- Back of your neck/behind your ears
You’re gonna love my next suggestion! Write the following on a sticky note or piece of tape and stick it where you would see it when sitting on the toilet. “Here I sit and wonder why I have to check for ticks where the sun don’t shine!” Then proceed to examine all your private goodies until you are satisfied that there are no hitchhikers on your junk. Ticks like your junk.
Finally, when you are relaxing in front of the TV or reading, simply continuously run your fingers through your hair and on your scalp to feel for anything unusual. I do this all the time. I was thinking about hiring a monkey to do it for me, but monkeys creep me out for some reason.
Follow the same procedure for your kids. If they are young enough for you to check them, try using a flashlight and magnifying glass. Nothing like getting to know them better! If they are old enough to not let you check them, please make sure they do a good job themselves.
Pets love tick checks! Examine your pet thoroughly from tail to nose, and you might even get a few sloppy licks in return. Keep in mind, ticks like to embed themselves in the neck, head and around the ears of animals, so pay particular attention to these areas. Searching is made easier by separating the fur and examining the skin. Again, just be thorough.
Ticks are very persistent little parasites and constant vigilance is highly suggested to keep as safe as possible. Tick checks are an important component of one’s prevention regimen. If you discover a tick, it is extremely important to remove it ASAP, and to do so correctly. Please visit my website at www.tickease.com for proper removal instructions and to get my new tick removal tool called TickEase. Stay tuned for more helpful tips and suggestions from Tick Man Dan and remember…Don’t Neglect Your Crevices!!!
Daniel Wolff is the Owner at TickEase, Inc.