Bug bites are an inevitable part of summer and spending time outdoors. And while most of us expect to be feasted on by mosquitoes at one time or another, what about fleas and ticks?
People associate fleas and ticks with their pets, but the truth is these bloodsucking parasites aren’t too discriminating about where their next meal is coming from.
The good news: Bites from fleas and ticks are annoying, but they’re basically harmless.
Ever heard the term ankle biter? Fleas have deservedly earned this nickname because they bite people’s ankles and lower legs because these extremities are closest to the ground and easiest for these strong jumpers to latch onto.
While the health risks from flea bites are very minor and can include allergic reactions and skin infections, some varieties of ticks can pose a health risk to humans.
The deer tick – which is common in Ohio – is a carrier of Lyme disease. But, to give you some perspective, Ohio only had 49 confirmed cases of Lyme disease in 2012 according to the CDC.
One of the best ways to prevent exposing your family to tick-borne illnesses is to check everybody for ticks after spending time in grassy areas or hiking in the woods.
Ticks removed from the body within 24 to 48 hours after exposure are less likely to transmit disease. They can be easily removed by grasping their heads with a pair of tweezers and pulling upward without twisting or see-sawing back and forth. This method ensures you remove the whole tick.
Although you can’t completely avoid ticks, you can lower your chances of one attaching to you by staying on trails, wearing long sleeves and pants and using insect repellents that contain 10% to 30% DEET.