2014 is off to a surprisingly strong tick and flea season – Most of us in the trail community dealt with a long, cold and snow covered winter. We never got a break, with cold snap after cold snap keeping us chilled. We were convinced that a bad winter would do a number on the tick population – Sadly it seems we were wrong.
Report after report are coming in to us that ticks are active and hungry right now – It seems according to new research that while ticks do die quickly if left in a freezer – They do not die while in their own natural environments. The 2 previous winter were mild and the tick population grew, with one cold winter not effectively knocking the population back down here is what you can do to prevent/ treat ticks from getting a free meal from you or your pal Fido!
So what can humans do.
1. STAY ON THE TRAIL – As if you needed another reason to not go off trail – Ticks don’t jump, fly, attack, or move fast – They basically fall off of one thing and on to another – Want to avoid ticks? Avoid brush, grass, etc. Basically – stay in the middle of the trail – as we have said all along. Stop bushwhacking!
2. Use DEET – Ticks hate it, so use it.
3. Cover up – Long pants, socks, sleeves etc. It may not be very fun in the summer – It is however the best way to keep ticks off of your body.
4. Shower and check – When you get home, rinse off, and check under arms, behind knees, and other places the little creepers might want to go.
WHAT ABOUT POOR FIDO?
1. Check daily to ensure they have remained tick free.
2. Remove ticks (head and all) as soon as you notice
3. Spot On treatments – A topical that can kill ticks and fleas – These are good for about a month
4. Oral Medications – These can kill ticks and fleas – and don’t have the same problems that come with the topical
5. Shampoo – Some dog shampoos come with a flea and tick killer in it – This won’t last as long as a topical, but if your dog is loving the trails as much as you are – They may need a bath anyway
What to do when you notice a tick is attached?
There are many different ways to remove a tick however The CDC warns against other measures; “Avoid folklore remedies such as “painting” the tick with nail polish or petroleum jelly, or using heat to make the tick detach from the skin. Your goal is to remove the tick as quickly as possible–not waiting for it to detach.”
This is the preferred method:
Use tweezers – grab as close to the skin as possible and pull up and out –
Pay attention – Check yourself, and check your pets. If you take these precautions and pay attention after the runs you should be just fine!
Stay tick free – See you on the trails!