Make your environment less mosquito-friendly by following these simple steps:
n Remove any containers that might hold water. Things like bird baths, old tires, planters and even small containers like tin cans can give mosquitoes a place to thrive.
n Make sure screens and doors fit tightly.
n Apply insect repellent according to the label instructions.
n Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants to cover your skin.
Some tips for reducing tick habitats include the following:
n Mow the lawn often to keep grass short, clear brush and leaf litter under trees and keep the ground under bird feeders clean.
n Keep playground equipment away from yard edges and trees.
n Pesticides can be effective in controlling ticks, but application should always be done with care and strictly according to the label on the pesticide container.
n Remove plants that attract wild animals like deer and rodents and construct physical barriers to discourage tick-infested deer from coming near homes.
Prompt removal of ticks can help prevent infection. Check yourself and your children at least every six hours and quickly remove any ticks. Pay careful attention to the nape of the neck, behind the ears and the groin, which are favorite places for ticks to attach.
Use fine-tipped tweezers, or shield your fingers with a tissue, paper towel or rubber gloves and then grasp the tick as close to the skin surface as possible and pull upward with steady, even pressure. Do not twist or jerk the tick; this may cause the mouth parts to break off and remain in the skin. Do not squeeze, crush, or puncture the body of the tick.
After removing the tick, thoroughly disinfect the site and wash your hands with soap and water.
Make a note of the date you removed the tick and save it for identification in case you become ill. This may help your doctor make an accurate diagnosis. Place the tick in a plastic bag and put it in your freezer or drop it in a small container of alcohol.
If you have signs or symptoms of tick-borne illness in the month following a tick bite, seek medical help. Symptoms of Rocky Mountain spotted fever include sudden onset of fever, headache, and muscle pain, followed by the development of a rash. Symptoms of Lyme disease include a “bull's-eye” rash accompanied by nonspecific symptoms such as fever, fatigue, headache, muscle aches and joint aches.
For information, call the Health Department at 671-3200.
- Melissa Packer is the Public Affairs Officer for the Robeson County Health Department. You may contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.