July 11, 2024

Ticks and Mosquitos – Unwelcomed Neighbors

General Health
Ticks and Mosquitoes - Unwelcomed Neighbors

There is great beauty in the Wisconsin outdoors, but it is accompanied by some unwelcomed neighbors.  The summertime is prime season for ticks and mosquitos to be lurking as you stroll in the woods or picnic by your favorite lake.  Ticks and mosquitos may be infected with bacteria, parasites, or viruses so it is important to take precautions to avoid bites, know how to properly remove the insects and treat the bite area and recognize symptoms that require medical attention.

To start, there are ways that you can discourage tick and mosquito populations from settling in your surroundings by:
  • removing leaf litter
  • cutting back tall grass and brush
  • discouraging deer activity
  • eliminating standing water by filling in areas that collect run-off or adding a method for drainage
While in the out-of-doors take the following precautions:
  • Wear a hat and light-colored clothing (so ticks can be easily spotted), including long-sleeved shirts and long pants tucked into boots or socks.
  • Use and reapply insect repellents containing 20–50% DEET on exposed skin and clothing.
When returning from an extended period outside in wooded and/or swampy areas:
  • Check skin and clothing for ticks daily (in hair, underarms, and groin).
  • Immediately remove ticks using fine-tipped tweezers using the following method:
    • Grasp the tick firmly, as close to your skin as possible.
    • Pull the tick’s body away from your skin with a steady motion.
    • Don’t use nail polish, petroleum jelly, or a hot match to make the tick detach.
    • If tick mouthparts remain in the skin, leave them alone as they will usually fall out in a few days.
    • Clean the bit area with soap and water, rubbing alcohol or iodine scrub.
  • Shower soon after being outdoors.
  • Wash and dry clothes using the “hot” settings to kill any ticks present.
  • If you develop a fever or rash within several weeks of a tick bite, see your medical provider and share the information about the bite.