Tick populations should be pretty healthy this spring. The winter hasn’t been too cold and there was a good deal of snow cover when it was in the single digits. Insects – and arachnids which are the family that ticks are in – do a good job of regulation their bodies stored fats and also produce an alcohol so that they don’t freeze.
I had that little bit about the Lone Star tick on the first page because that is a tick worth keeping an eye on. It’s not in NH yet but is knocking on the doorstep. It has been discovered on Cape Cod and further north into the Andovers and the seacoast of Massachusetts. The diseases it can transmit include Ehrlichiosis, which made my racquetball partner very sick a few years ago. There is also a virus it can transmit that makes you allergic to red meat, which would be bad! These can be transmitted instantly without the tick embedding in your skin.
Our tick programs will start this year in early spring as soon as the snow melts off.
You have gone for a walk in the woods, along a road, or hiked up Mt. Agamenticus and you’re getting ready for bed. You check your warm spots – behind your knees, your private parts, where your belt sits, armpits, neck, ears, and hairline and…Boom! You found an embedded tick!
Don’t panic – here’s what to do:
- DON’T: burn the tick, swab it with Vaseline, or cover it with nail polish. Those methods don’t work, are not fast enough, and could cause the tick to eject more saliva into you.
- DO: get a pair of round tipped tweezers. The round tips are less likely to slice the insect in half than regular tweezers Grab the tick at the head and slowly work the tick back and forth, with constant pressure until the tick is dislodged. The ticks mouth parts are barbed which is why you have to work it out.
- DO: After the removal of the tick, wash the area with soap and water, and alcohol wipe or an iodine scrub.
- DO: Save the tick. If the tick was embedded for more than 24 hours, take the tick to your doctor for testing for lime disease. You can also have the tick identified by snapping a picture if it and posting it to TickEncounter.org/TickSpotters.