With Hot Temps and Recent Rains, Ticks are Coming Out All Over Oklahoma
As we roll into a wet and humid start to summer, you should know that this is the type of weather that ticks thrive in.
With so much rain and temps pushing 100°, conditions are right for a perfect storm of disease-spreading blood-suckers. Particularly, the species that can cause you to grow allergic to red meat.
See that tick right in the middle? That's the Lone Star Tick, called such due to the little lone white dot on its back. This is the tick that can pass on alpha-gal syndrome--AKA--a red meat allergy.
I have a nephew that unfortunately got this condition from a Lone Star Tick, one bite of a hot dog or hamburger and he'll break out into hives, run a really high fever, and have trouble breathing to the point they'll have to stab him with an epi-pen. You don't want this at all.
I had my own run-in with ticks a few years ago while clearing brush at my parents. I'm the only person I know to have ever had Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.
How to avoid ticks.
I know some people think it's cruel, but spraying your yard with a lingering insecticide is the cheapest route a family can take to avoid ticks. Also, keep your yard mowed. They avoid the heat, and if there's no tall grass to provide shade and retain moisture, they'll move along.
Also, don't chase off beneficial wildlife like opossums. They can eat an average of 5500 ticks per week. They're ugly, but surprisingly effective against the worse of two evils.
When you venture far from home, you'll want to spray down with bug sprays containing at least 25% DEET as the active ingredient or wash your outdoor clothes with an insect repellent called permethrin. In fact, do both.
When you're done being out in the wilds of nature, don't sit around in your same clothes. Strip down when you first get home and examine yourself for ticks. All the nooks and crannies. If you do find one, don't be dumb.
How to properly pull ticks.
There's an old wives' tale that you should touch a tick with a hot match or needle to get them to let go. Don't do that. If anything, they'll regurgitate back into you and only improve your odds of getting one or more of the countless diseases they carry.
Don't try to pick them out with tweezers either. You're just squeezing everything inside the tick back into the person it's latched onto. Even worse, tweezers can rip a tick in half, leaving the head of the bug imbedded in your skin. Secondary infection is a real problem.
Instead, pack a tick remover tool to take with you. They're small, cheap, and really effective.
With El Nino now in effect, it looks as if this summer is going to be hot and humid with plenty of rain. The precautions you take now will pay off dividends throughout the summer.
If you do find a tick on you and you start to feel flu-like symptoms, consult a doctor. While most tick-borne illnesses are easily treatable, they can spiral out of control very fast.