How to Fight the Bite this Memorial Day

Memorial Day is the unofficial kickoff to summer and officials are reminding us as we spend more time in the outdoors, it’s important to take precautions against mosquito and tick bites.

Mosquito and tick-borne diseases can cause mild symptoms, severe infections requiring hospitalization, and even death in some cases.

1. Avoid mosquito bites: Use insect repellent according to label directions when outdoors and mosquitoes are biting. Look for EPA-labeled products containing active ingredients, such as DEET, Picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Re-apply as needed. Use nets or fans around outdoor eating areas to keep mosquitoes away. Start with a low-concentration product and re-apply if necessary. Apply repellent on your hands and then rub it on the child and never apply repellent to children’s hands or their skin under clothing.

Many tick-borne diseases have similar symptoms. Visit Quality First Urgent Care if you develop signs of illness such as a fever, body aches and/or rash in the days after receiving a tick bite or recreating in tick habitat. Early recognition and treatment can decrease the chance of serious complications.

2. Avoiding tick-infested areas: This is especially important in May, June, and July. If you are in tick infested areas, walk in the center of trails to avoid contact with overgrown grass, brush, and leaf litter at trail edges. Dogs and domestic animals can also be impacted, so using a tick preventative is recommended.

3. Using insect repellent: Apply repellent containing DEET (20-30%) or Picaridin on clothes and on exposed skin. You can also treat clothes (especially pants, socks, and shoes) with permethrin, which kills ticks on contact or buy clothes that are pre-treated. Permethrin can also be used on tents and some camping gear. Do not use permethrin directly on skin.

4. Bathing or showering: Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors (preferably within two hours) to wash off and more easily find ticks that are crawling on you. Ticks can get a ride indoors on your clothes. After being outdoors, wash and dry clothing at a high temperature to kill any ticks that may remain on clothing.

5. Performing daily tick checks: Always check for ticks after being outdoors, including your animals, even in your own yard. Because ticks must usually be attached for at least a day before they can transmit the bacteria that cause Lyme disease, early removal can reduce the risk of infection. Inspect all body surfaces carefully, and remove attached ticks with tweezers. Grasp the tick firmly and as closely to the skin as possible. With a steady motion, pull the tick’s body away from the skin. Do not be alarmed if the tick’s mouthparts remain in the skin. Cleanse the area with an antiseptic.

If you have any questions related to mosquito, tick or bug bites of any sort, please do not hesitate to call Quality First Urgent Care 301-421-1214. Or schedule a visit HERE.

5 Things You Should Know About Tick Bites

The Spring & Summer months are the time of year when the most tick bites occur. In fact, according to the CDC, Maryland is one of the hardest hit states for ailments spread by bugs.

According to the CDC report, 48,000 tick-borne diseases were reported in 2016 and Lyme disease accounted for 82 percent of all tick-borne diseases between 2004 and 2016. The CDC has reported that the nation needs to be better prepared to face this public health threat.

Ticks often lay in areas of grass or brush and are attracted most to humans and our pets. Many times, ticks can be passed from our pets to us without us knowing.

Some tick bites can be harmless and many of us will never know they even happened. However, other bites can cause allergic reactions, illness, and muscular pain.

Below are a few particular things you should know about ticks so that you and your family can stay happy & healthy this summer.

Where to check for ticks

Ticks prefer the warm moist areas of the body due to the ample blood supply in those areas. If you, or your child, have been playing in a wooded or brushy area, make sure to check the armpits, legs, neck and hair for signs of a tick bite, as these are the areas where ticks are most commonly found.

Also, using a magnifying glass may come in handy when checking for ticks as they can range from the size of a pinhead to the size of a pencil eraser.

Some tick bites have no symptoms at all

Depending upon the species of the tick, the symptoms of a tick bite can vary. Many of the most common species found in the Maryland area do not transmit disease or pathogens and therefore there may be no physical symptoms.

In some instances, the tick will fall off the body after several days and leave no signs.

Removing the tick immediately will minimize the chance of disease

Because some species of tick can transmit disease or pathogens, immediately removing the tick can minimize the chance of illness.

In fact, if the tick is removed within the first 36 hours the chances the transmission of illnesses, such as Lyme Disease, is only about 1.4%.

How to remove a tick

Once a tick has been identified on the skin, the proper approach to removing it is extremely important. This can be done by using tick removal tools that can be found in most pharmacies, or by using tweezers.

  1. Make sure to use gloves to minimize the spread of bacteria or pathogens.
  2. Grasp the tick firmly as close to the skin as possible. Do not apply too much pressure or the tick can be crushed.
  3. Use a gentle upward motion to remove the tick from the skin. Do not twist or turn the tick as this may cause pieces of the tick to break off and remain in the skin, which can lead to infection.
  4. Place the tick into a sealed bag or jar in case it needs to be identified later by a physician. By being able to identify the tick, physicians are more able to identify the possible illnesses passed into your or your child.
  5. Swab the area with rubbing alcohol to remove any remaining bacteria.

Symptoms of an allergic reaction

Symptoms of illness or infection are not always immediate, so it is important to monitor for signs and symptoms in the days and weeks following a tick bite. It is important to seek medical attention if you notice any of these symptoms following a tick bite:

  • A red bull’s-eye in the area surrounding the bite.
  • Any new rash, even away from the tick bite site, in the period of over several weeks following a known tick bite or a possible tick exposure. In many cases of Lyme disease have no positive tick bite recalled by the patient.
  • Redness or irritation surrounding the bite
  • Flu like symptoms
  • Headache or nausea
  • Fever or chills
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain or swelling
  • Facial paralysis

At Quality First Urgent Care, our team of highly skilled providers can diagnose forms of tick born infection and provide medication or any treatments needed. If you suspect a tick bite or tick borne illness, walk-in or schedule an appointment HERE.