As much as everyone looks forward to getting outdoors, many of us don’t like those little critters that interrupt our time outside. Not only can they be pesky, but they can also carry diseases such as Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever or West Nile Virus.
Vector-borne diseases are bacterial and viral diseases transmitted by mosquitoes, ticks, and other insects. Some of these diseases have been present in the United States for many years, while others have recently emerged.
Ticks are generally found in wooded or bushy areas near the ground. Ticks can’t jump or fly, but they can climb on grasses and shrubs. When a potential host brushes against them, they will climb on the host and try to attach themselves. The best way to avoid dealing with ticks is to use some preventive measures; wear insect repellent containing DEET, wear permethrin-treated clothing, treat dogs for ticks, check for ticks after activity in tick areas, and shower soon after coming indoors.
If you discover a tick on your body, remove it right away. Folk remedies, such as burning the tick with a match or covering it with petroleum jelly or nail polish, are not effective. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the following instructions for removing a tick:
- Carefully grasp the tick by using tweezers to grip the tick by its mouthparts, which are close to the skin. Do not squeeze the tick’s body.
- Pull steadily directly away from your skin. Because removing the tick’s body is your main goal, don’t worry if its mouthparts break off in the process.
- Clean the wound and disinfect the site of the bite.
If you develop a rash or fever within several weeks of removing a tick, see a health care provider. Not everyone who gets Lyme disease will have the same symptoms, but the best and earliest sign of infection is a rash that may appear within a few days to a month, usually at the site of the tick bite. The rash will first look like a small, red bump, then expand until it begins to look like a bull’s eye, with a red center and a red ring surrounding a clear area.
Mosquitos are another of those pesky critters, we try to avoid. Peak hours for mosquitos are from dusk to dawn. The methods for avoiding mosquito bites are similar to the preventive measures for ticks.
Wearing a mosquito repellent such as DEET, permethrin, picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus has shown to decrease bites. Products containing up to 30% DEET have been shown to be the most effective and are safe for adults, including pregnant women, and children over 2 months of age. However, Permethrin repellants should be applied only to clothing and should not be used on skin.
Take measures to reduce areas for mosquito breeding around your home, such as eliminating standing water whenever possible, fix leaky outdoor faucets, turn over any items in your yard that may collect rainwater and change the water in bird bathes every three to four days.
Des Moines County Public Health to offer free flu and COVID-19 vaccines at upcoming events
Now that you know how to protect yourself and loved ones from ticks and mosquitos, let’s get outside and involved with the community in the Juneteenth and Pride month cerebrations.
The 2022 Juneteenth will be from 1 to 6 p.m. Saturday at DeEdwin & Gladys White Memorial Park, 300 Angular St. The event is sponsored by Faith Temple C.O.G.I.C and the Burlington N.A.A.C.P. The theme for the event is “Unity in the Community.”
Pride in the Park will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 25 at Crapo Park Main Shelter House. The event, hosted by Burlington Pride, will offer family-friendly events.
Both events are open to the public and Des Moines County Public Health will be offering free flu and COVID-19 vaccine at both events.