WASHINGTON (7News) — Ticks can bite year-round, but the warmer temperatures bring out the tiny parasites in droves. Some experts say the mild winter in the DMV means more months of tick activity.
When it’s cold, most ticks are dormant. The warmer weather means people are spending more time outside, gardening, hiking and walking the dog. At the same time, ticks are waking up, ready for a meal.
While they might “bug” you, ticks are arachnids, related to the spider. They are tiny, which is why it is so important to take preventative measures and check your clothes and body for any that might be attached. Don’t forget to check children and pets.
If you do find one on your skin, don’t panic, says allergist Dr. Troy Baker with Kaiser Permanente.
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In most cases, it must be attached for 36 to 48 hours before the bacteria that causes Lyme Disease can be transmitted. That’s why you should check immediately after heading indoors.
Dr. Baker said the best way to get one off is a pair of tweezers.
“And you apply pressure, and you just pull upward and slowly. Don’t twist or jerk, just do a very slow, controlled pressure. Also, when that’s done, I’d also wash with soap and water or rubbing alcohol to clean the area. You can even put a little circle around where you got bite and watch that location for the next several days to make sure a rash is not developing,” he suggested.
A rash isn’t the only sign you could be getting sick from a tick bite. The CDC has an interactive Tick Bite Bot that will ask questions that you answer and will give you a recommendation on whether you need to see a doctor.
Ticks can be carried into the house on clothes. The CDC recommends putting clothes in the dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks. Showering can also help wash off unattached ticks.