Above, two black-legged ticks (Ixodes scapularis) on my pants during a lunchtime woods walk. The black-legged tick is one of the 25 species of ticks known to occur in Pennsylvania, one of the four most common in our region, and is known to transmit Lyme disease and other pathogens.
Perhaps the most predictable aspect of spending time outdoors, whether it be in the forest, your backyard or public park may unfortunately be getting a tick on your clothes – or worse – a bite. In the northeastern United States, ticks have become much more common. And, their unwelcome presence can turn a pleasant outing into a health risk. The blacklegged tick – in particular – can transmit tickborne diseases most notably Lyme disease. Symptoms of Lyme can include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans (https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/index.html). Yet, some people never develop a rash, and remain asymptomatic for weeks, ultimately to encounter headache and fatigue later. Many people struggling with these symptoms are surprised to learn after laboratory testing that they have been infected with Lyme. Thankfully, doctors have increased their awareness and alertness to tickborne illnesses. And, outdoor experiences contribute to our overall well-being. We encourage you to enjoy your woods, parks, open spaces and continually grow your experience in the abundant nature around you, while intentionally managing your exposure to ticks and their related risks.
Prevention starts with knowledge and awareness. Taking a hike or letting children scamper off into the 100-acre wood can still be done relatively safely if we take the right precautions.
- Covering up: Cover up with clothing. The less skin available the less likely you will incur a bite.
- Vigilance: Be vigilant. If you have been outdoors check yourself, loved ones and pets. Perhaps use a lint roller to remove them from your clothing. If you have been in the woods for a significant amount of time maybe remove your clothing before entering your home.
- Tick Removal: If a tick has latched to your skin remove it with a tick removal tool. If that’s not possible go to a hospital or urgent care.
- Treating Clothing: Consider using an approved pesticide, and use only as directed by the label.
Do you have questions or thoughts about this topic? We would be happy to speak with you about the markets, and more importantly, your goals and objectives for your land. Please let us know how we can contact you by filling out the form below.