Tick Check

Read time: 2 min

Blue sky with green grass and a tree.  Text reads Tick Check.

woman hiking

Emily Wagner, MPH

Assistant Director/Violence Prevention and Advocacy Specialist

Health and Wellness Education

 

Vermont is a great place to play outdoors year round.  Unfortunately, many types of ticks are present in all areas of Vermont and can infect us with a variety of illnesses that can have long-lasting (and pretty miserable) effects.

 

What is a tick?

Ticks are small parasitic bugs that can be hard to find when they bite us.  They carry several infectious diseases and spread them through their saliva.  Prevention and early detection of these illnesses is key.

 

Symptoms:

Symptoms of tick-related illnesses can vary.  Lyme Disease often (but not always!) presents with a bulls-eye rash near the bite but people can also experience fevers, joint pain, fatigue, and just generally might not feel good.  For many people, symptoms can mimic other illnesses so if you’re not feeling well, it’s important to let your doctor know about any bites you know of or if you spend a lot of time outside.  

 

Prevention tips:

-Do a thorough tick check every night before bed- including underarms, inside ears, hairline and scalp, genital area and behind the knees

-Shower before bed or after outside activity

-Tuck your pants into your socks when playing outside in long grass or piles of leaves

Use an EPA approved insect repellent (DEET and permethrin are some options but there are others that are less “chemical”) 

 

Tick removal:

If you find a tick on you, it’s best to remove it as quickly as possible.  If it hasn’t bitten you yet, you can usually brush it off.  If it is attached, use tweezers or a tick spoon to remove the entire tick and then monitor yourself for symptoms (depending on your location and how long you think the tick was on you, some doctors will prescribe antibiotics without symptoms or a confirmed diagnosis).

 

For more information:

CDC’s info page on tick borne diseases

Vermont Department of Health- Information on Ticks in Vermont