Avoid ticks: Pay attention while outside

newspaperFor anyone walking, hiking or simply spending time in the backyard, ticks can be a problem. Ticks have become more of a hazard in outdoor spaces, said horticulturalist Mark Viette of Augusta County. Viette hosts the “In the Garden” segment on Virginia Farm Bureau’s weekly television program, Real Virginia.

There are many different species of ticks, but the deer tick is so small and tiny it can be problematic. “You could be bitten by a deer tick and not even know it,” Viette explained. “They also spread Lyme disease.”

The larger dog ticks can spread a red meat allergy that lasts for two years. For the first time, the Powassan virus was found in Virginia. This tick-contracted disease can be more serious than Lyme disease “and some people don’t survive from it,” Viette said. “It is important that we pay attention to our surroundings and help eliminate the possibility of being bitten by a tick.”

Well-mowed areas with short grass aren’t as problematic. But border areas with tall grass and shrubs could be harboring ticks.

Viette suggested that people use repellant sprays to control ticks in the yard.

“As always, with any organic or non-organic chemicals, check the label,” he advised. “There are great repellents to use, but always follow the label directions. Some repellants can be used on clothes and some on the body. There also are pre-treatments available for clothing. But check the label.”

Viette said if he’s been walking through tall grass or weeds, “I go home, throw my clothes in the dryer for 20 minutes to kill any ticks that may by present, and take a shower.”

 



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