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Tick Talk, not TikTok | Tick Prevention, Tick Information & Tick Remedies

Tick Talk, not TikTok | Tick Prevention, Tick Information & Tick Remedies
April 15, 2022

By: Andrew Muntz, The O2 Podcast

Warmer weather, turkeys gobbling, and blood sucking bugs, all go hand in hand.  Here is a quick run down of what to expect, watch out for, and how to protect yourself from ticks this Spring.

Recently I had the chance to sit down with Dr. Tim McDermott of The Ohio State University.  Dr. McDermott is a specialist in ticks for the state of Ohio.  Not long ago, 20 years to be exact, Ohio was home to 1 medically worrisome tick.  Today, we are aware of 5 ticks that can be an issue to humans and other animals.

The first step in solving a problem, is identifying the problem.  This can be easier said than done, but in today’s world of smart phones and all the information in the world at our finger tips, it is doable.  The 5 ticks that we have in Ohio (and probably some surrounding states) are:

5 Ticks That Make Humans Sick

American Dog Tick

Original problem tick, with over 20 years of presence in Ohio.  Still prevalent, and can spread diseases such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.  These ticks are often found in open grasslands, and even lawns.

Deer Tick (Black legged Tick)

First found in Ohio in 2010, Coshocton, this is perhaps the most dangerous of all the ticks.  This tick can spread Lyme Disease. This disease can cause long term neurological issues for Humans, dogs, cats, horses and more. This tick prefers to be in the woods, often with their name sake, deer.

Lone Star Tick

Similar to the Deer Tick, found in woods, with many different hosts that it will feed on.  This tick is known for spreading alpha-gal syndrome, a disease that can cause the host to have an allergic reaction to red meat.  What a concept, that us hunters that spend hours in the pursuit of red meat, could come home unable to eat it!

Gulf Coast Tick

New to Ohio in 2020, it has moved up from the Gulf of Mexico region.  This tick was first found down near Cincinnati.  This tick can vector diseases to humans, companion animals, and live stock.  This tick can handle a bit more heat and will be found in more open, grassy areas.

Asian Long Horn Tick

First found in Ohio in 2020 in Gallia county on a rescue dog, this tick is a true invasive insect, not native to any part of the United States. This insect was first found in 2017 in New Jersey, and it is now found in multiple states. There is more research coming out about the diseases this tick can transmit.

Remedies & Ways To Keep Ticks Away

Once you have identified your tick, you need to know how to handle the arachnid (technically not an insect) if it has latched on.  There are many old remedies for how to remove a tick, how long it can be imbedded before disease transmission, etc.  Dr. McDermott made it very clear, that although in the past we thought that the 24 hour mark was that magical line for transmission, today we are learning more and more about each kind of tick, and it might not be the magical 24 hour period.  Research is being conducted quickly to try and find out more about how each of these insects transmit disease.

Protecting yourself is one of the easiest things you can do to help reduce the potential for tick borne diseases. Pre treatment of your clothes with products containing the active ingredient of Permethrin, is hands down the easiest first line of defense.  Spraying your clothes, specifically your outer layers, will keep the ticks at bay.  Last spring I was religious about spraying my clothes.  While out with a buddy, he pulled multiple ticks off himself, and I was clean. Fair warning, the permethrin will probably have a pretty good smell to it, but that will go away quickly.

Insect repellants, with the active ingredient of DEET are often the best to help repel insects on your skin.  These products are considered safe on your skin.  When in doubt, read the label on any product.

Tips For Dealing With Ticks: 

  • Low Temperatures don’t always kill ticks!!!  I’ve had them on me, after heavy frosts and sub freezing temperatures.  They are active almost ALL YEAR LONG. 
  • Removal of a tick, should be done carefully with a set of tweezers.  Do your best to remove the entire body including the head. Wash the bite area thoroughly.
  • Washing your clothes will not necessarily kill the ticks, but running your clothes through the dryer may help.  The high temperatures can do some damage to the buggers.
  • If you remove one, save it in a container for potential lab analysis. 
  • Monitor your companion pets as well. Utilize your vets recommendations for protecting your pets

Please, take your time to pre treat your clothes, do a body check when you get done, and be aware of what you need to look for.  Ticks are going to be found from the size of about a skittle, to the size of a pin head.  The short amount of time to keep them away, could save you from a life time of agonizing issues. For more information check out this link to information from The Ohio State University. Good Luck!

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