Summer is in full swing, which means taking advantage of all the wonderful outdoor amenities on Long Island like hiking and spending time with your family outside. While the great outdoors is truly great here, with many beaches, trails, and parks to enjoy this time of year, it’s also important to be mindful of ticks, which are commonly found in leafy outdoor areas. Here’s how you can enjoy your summer on Long Island without ticks!
What Does a Tick Look Like?
Protecting yourself from ticks starts with knowing what they look like! There are a few tick species we see most often on Long Island: the American Dog Tick, which is brown with white-gray markings, the Deer Tick which is orange-brown with dark legs, and the Lone Star Tick, which is reddish-brown and will have a distinct silvery-white spot on its back if female. Though they vary in appearance, each of these ticks found on Long Island is small and can easily go undetected on your body, so it’s important to give yourself, your family, and your pets a thorough check for ticks if you’ve spent time outdoors.
How to Check for Ticks
As mentioned, ticks are tiny and often attach themselves to humans and pets without us even noticing. Usually, they’ll hide in crevices and warm spots on the body, particularly near the legs and groin, as ticks will frequently get picked up on the lower legs and work their way up the body.
If you’ve done some sort of outdoor activity like hiking, be mindful to change the outfit you wore and shake those clothes out in an isolated area to make sure no ticks are hiding in them.
What Does a Tick Bite Look Like?
When checking for ticks, you’ll want to look for small red bumps which may have a round bullseye rash. Even if you don’t see this rash, it doesn’t mean you’re in the clear from a tick bite, but it is one visual indicator you may notice while checking for ticks. This rash usually disappears within a few days, but keep in mind that if you do experience a tick bite, you should be on the lookout for any symptoms for up to a month, as ticks are known to cause a number of illnesses including Lyme disease, babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and tularemia.
How to Remove a Tick if You Find One on You
If you do find a tick on your body, here’s what to do, as stated by the CDC:
- Use tweezers with a fine tip to grab the tick as close to the skin as possible.
- Pull upward with a smooth motion. You don’t want to leave the mouth parts in your skin. You also do not want to squash the tick as it could still transmit disease this way.
- When the tick is removed, wash the area with soap and water.
- Call your doctor ASAP if you develop a rash, headache, pain, or fever.
How to Protect Yourself from Ticks
The way ticks latch on to humans and pets is pretty simple—they wait it out in foliage like grass, leaves, or bushes, then jump from their hiding spot, such as a blade of grass for example, onto a passerby. Because of this behavior, one way to prevent ticks is to avoid heavily wooded or bushy areas with high grass and leaves, because it’s incredibly likely you’ll encounter ticks there.
You can also apply insect repellents to help deter ticks, and wear light-colored clothing with long sleeves and pants legs if you know you’re heading into a hot tick zone.
In addition to the measures outlined above, one of the most effective ways to protect yourself, your family, and your pets from ticks is with a tick prevention service from Suburban Exterminating. For an inspection and estimate for your yard, call (631/516) 864-6900.