According to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more Americans are being infected with diseases carried by ticks and mosquitoes.
The CDC reports the number of reported vector-borne disease cases has tripled over the last 13 years (2004-2016), with more than 640,000 Americans being infected by vector-borne diseases – which include Lyme disease, West Nile virus, and Zika.
As we all get out and enjoy the great outdoors this summer, the chances of encountering blood-sucking pests – like ticks, whose disease transmission numbers have doubled – are much greater.
The Clark Man encourages campers, hikers, backyard gardeners, and picnickers to take protective measures to limit contact with ticks, so they can avoid becoming one of the 300,000 persons who are diagnosed with Lyme disease annually in the United States.
Ticks live in tall grass and wooded areas, where they wait to grab onto passing hosts to acquire a blood meal. Anyone spending time outdoors should be committed to protecting themselves against these pests, because although they are small in size, the diseases they can pass on from a bite are quite dangerous.
The Clark Man recommends the following prevention tips to avoid the health threats associated with ticks:
- Always apply an insect repellant containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus when spending time outdoors, and reapply as directed on the label.
- Wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts and closed-toe shoes when outdoors. Choose light-colored clothing that makes it easier to spot ticks and other insects.
- Keep grass cut low, as ticks are found in high grass. Remove weeds, woodpiles, and debris.
- Inspect yourself and your family members, as well as your pets, carefully for ticks after being outdoors. Ticks can hide in clothing and in the fur of your pets.
- Protect pets by reaching out to your local veterinarian. They usually offer a variety of products for protecting animals from tick-borne diseases.
- Place a barrier of wood chips or gravel between your lawn, patio, and play equipment, along with between your yard and any wooded areas. This will help restrict tick migration into recreational areas.
If you have questions about ticks or Lyme disease (May is National Lyme Disease Awareness Month), call or text (800) WE-NEED-YOU (936-3339) or drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next time, I’m the Clark Man. Thanks for helping me keep unwanted pests out of your home.