Stop Ticks in Their Tracks: Prevention, Removal, and Treatment

Don’t get ticked off: Tips for how to conquer those tiny terrors.

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Unfortunately we humans aren’t the only ones who enjoy the nice weather this time of year.

Ticks usually go dormant for the winter (unless they have found a warm, hospitable host), so we tend to let our guard down when it’s cooler, knowing that they aren’t as much of a concern. But that changes as soon as the weather does. They are most active from April to September, just when we’ll be outside enjoying the warmer weather. It’s feeding time for the ticks, and we’re on the menu.

Ixodida. That’s the scientific name for ticks. But you don’t need to know that to know how much you hate the little buggers. They are almost everywhere we go outdoors, but we often don’t know they are there until we find one on us – after we’ve been bitten.

 

| In the last dataset gathered (2017-2019) nearly 50,000 tick bites per year result in emergency room visits |

 

 

Let’s explore some ways to mitigate bites, and treat them if they do happen:

Start with prevention:

  • Dress Smart: Wear long pants and sleeves, tucking pants into socks. Light-colored clothing makes spotting ticks easier.
  • Tick Habitats: Avoid tall grass, brush, and leaf litter where ticks lurk. Stick to cleared paths when hiking.
  • Repellent Power: Use an EPA-registered insect repellent containing at least 20% DEET on exposed skin (follow label instructions carefully). Consider permethrin for clothing (not directly on skin).
  • Post-Adventure Check: After coming indoors, do a thorough full-body tick check, including in and around the hair, armpits, groin, and behind the knees.

Tick Removal 101:

If you find a tick attached:

  • Don’t Panic: Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick firmly near its head (avoid squeezing the body). Pull straight up with steady, gentle pressure.
  • Clean Up: Disinfect the bite area and your tweezers with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
  • Save the Evidence: Place the tick in a sealed container (alive or dead) for potential identification if needed.

Important Note: Resist the urge to burn, suffocate, or folk remedies for tick removal. These can irritate the bite and increase infection risk.

 

Seek medical attention if:

  • The tick was attached for more than 24 hours (increases disease transmission risk).
  • Part of the tick remains embedded in the skin.
  • You experience a rash around the bite or flu-like symptoms within a few weeks.

It’s important to know your risks: Check to see if you live in a region where the Lyme disease carrying ticks are more abundant.

 

Treatment with Doxycycline:

  • Effectiveness: Doxycycline is a first-line antibiotic treatment for Lyme disease, particularly in its early stages.
  • Treatment Duration: The typical course of doxycycline for Lyme disease is 10-14 days, although it can be extended for more complex cases.
  • Prescription Only: Doxycycline is a prescription medication and should only be taken under a doctor’s supervision.
  • Not for Prevention: Doxycycline is for treating established Lyme disease infections, not preventing them after a tick bite.

Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne disease in the U.S. with between 20,000 and 30,000 confirmed cases each year.

 

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Remember, ticks live where we play!

Since ticks are likely to be wherever we’re spending time outdoors, it’s important to be mindful of their presence. But since our adventures often take us to remote places, it’s also important to have the medications you may need with you.

Doxycycline is just one of the 5 included life-save medications that come in every Jase Case – and it’s not only for Lyme disease. Doxy is also used to treat respiratory tract infections, dental infections, skin infections, certain STI’s, malaria, and even certain types of food poisoning.

Give yourself some peace of mind knowing you’re covered for all of the most common infections with a Jase Case.

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Explore the Benefits of Outdoor Adventure

The Importance of Timely Antibiotic Intervention

An active family is a healthy family, and a healthy family is a happy one. 

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Stay healthy by getting outside, and stay safe while doing so. 

The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and a gentle breeze is calling you outdoors! As this season graces us with its warmth and the days grow longer, it’s the perfect time to venture out with your loved ones, and soak in some vitamin D.

Whether you’re planning a leisurely afternoon in the backyard or a grand family reunion, the great outdoors offers a treasure trove of fun, adventure, and unforgettable memories. These activities offer a host of health benefits, from physical fitness to mental well-being as well as fostering a connection to the environment.

So, let’s explore some exciting outdoor activities that will keep the whole family entertained while reaping the health benefits of fresh air, sunshine, and physical movement.

Outdoor activities for the whole family. 

Hit the Trails:  Hiking is a fantastic way to explore nature, get some exercise, and breathe in the fresh air. Choose a trail suited to your family’s fitness level, and don’t forget to pack plenty of water and snacks.

Wheely Good Times: Biking is a low-impact activity suitable for most ages and fitness levels. Explore your neighborhood on a scenic route or pack a picnic lunch and head to a local park.

Park Playtime:  Head to your local park for a fun-filled day. Pack a frisbee or a ball for some classic games, like frisbee tic-tac-toe, or explore the playground equipment.  Many parks also offer features like biking or walking paths, perfect for getting some exercise while enjoying the scenery. Time Magazine suggests that as little as 20 minutes in a park can make you happier.

Skateboarding or Rollerblading: These activities can be great for family fun in suitable parks or trails that accommodate skateboards and rollerblades.

Backyard Bonanza: Transform your backyard into an adventure zone! Pitch a tent for a night of stargazing, set up an obstacle course with hula hoops, jump ropes, and tunnels, or create a fairy garden for the little ones.

Geocaching: Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location.

Splish Splash! With the rising temperatures, water activities become a cool way to beat the heat.  Head to the beach for a day of sandcastle building and swimming, or visit a splash pad for some refreshing fun. Consider geocaching for a treasure hunt adventure with a watery twist – look for waterproof geocaches hidden near lakes, rivers, or beaches!

Kayaking or Canoeing: If you’re near a body of water, kayaking or canoeing can be a peaceful and invigorating way to explore lakes, rivers, or coastal areas. Rentals are often available if you don’t own a kayak or canoe.

Cast a Line:  Fishing is a great way to spend a quiet afternoon outdoors and can teach patience and respect for nature. It’s also a fun way to introduce kids to a new hobby and enjoy a delicious home-cooked meal with your fresh catch!

Bird Watching: Bird watching is a calming activity that can be done in virtually any outdoor setting, including your own backyard. It’s a good way to teach children about nature and wildlife.

Rock Climbing: For families with older children, rock climbing can be an exciting challenge. Outdoor climbing walls or natural rock formations with guided climbs are a safe way to try this sport.

Outdoor Yoga: Practicing yoga in a park or a quiet, scenic area can enhance the experience by connecting you more deeply with nature.

 

Why do all this you may ask? Because it’s good for you! How good? Read on to find out:

 

Health Benefits of outdoor activities:

  1. Physical Fitness: Many outdoor activities, such as hiking, cycling, kayaking, and rock climbing, provide excellent cardiovascular exercise, helping to strengthen the heart, improve circulation, and boost overall fitness levels. Not everyone can be up for the same outings, so be sure to choose the right amount of physical activity for different age groups.
  2. Muscle Strength and Flexibility: Activities like gardening, rock climbing, and skateboarding work various muscle groups, enhancing strength, flexibility, and coordination.
  3. Mental Well-being: Outdoor activities offer mental health benefits, including reduced stress, anxiety, and depression. Being in nature can improve mood and mental clarity, promoting a sense of well-being.
  4. Social Interaction: Activities like picnics, geocaching, and group sports promote social bonding and interaction, which are vital for mental and emotional health.
  5. Cognitive Benefits: Engaging in activities that require problem-solving, such as geocaching or rock climbing, can improve cognitive function and enhance skills like focus and decision-making.
  6. Vitamin D Absorption: Spending time outdoors allows the body to absorb vitamin D from sunlight, which is essential for bone health and immune function. Sunlight has been linked to increased serotonin levels, and better moods!
  7. Stress Reduction: Being in natural environments has been shown to reduce cortisol levels, the hormone associated with stress, leading to a more relaxed state of mind.
  8. Improved Sleep: Regular outdoor activity can help regulate sleep patterns, leading to better quality sleep and increased energy levels during the day.
  9. Emotional Well-being: Outdoor activities can provide a sense of accomplishment, adventure, and excitement, contributing to overall emotional well-being.
  10. Family Bonding: Participating in outdoor activities as a family fosters strong bonds and creates lasting memories, promoting a sense of unity and connection.

But remember, stay safe while staying healthy!

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Sun exposure, dehydration, and heat exhaustion are the easiest things to neglect thinking about when everyone is having fun, and no one wants a day ruined by a health related issue.

Preparing for these and the other health related concerns should be a part of your planned day outdoors.

Here are some things to remember the risks of while having the time of your lives:

Dehydration: Prolonged outdoor activity, especially in hot weather, can lead to dehydration. To prevent this, drink plenty of water before, during, and after your activity. Avoid sugary drinks and alcohol, as they can dehydrate you further. Dehydration occurs more easily in young children and especially in older adults, with as much as 28% of older adults affected by dehydration

Sunburn: Exposure to the sun’s UV rays can cause sunburn, which increases the risk of skin cancer. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, and reapply every two hours or after swimming or sweating. Wear protective clothing, such as hats and sunglasses, and seek shade during peak sun hours.

Heat Exhaustion and Heatstroke: High temperatures can lead to heat-related illnesses, such as heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Stay hydrated, wear lightweight and light-colored clothing, and take frequent breaks in shaded or cool areas. Learn the signs of heat-related illnesses and seek medical attention if you or a family member experiences symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, or rapid heartbeat.

Air Quality: Pay attention to air quality reports, especially on high pollution days. Avoid exercising outdoors during times of poor air quality, as it can exacerbate respiratory issues.

Asthma Management: If you or a family member has asthma, take extra precautions during outdoor activities. Ensure that asthma medications, such as inhalers, are readily available and use them as prescribed. Consult with a healthcare provider to develop an asthma action plan tailored to outdoor activities.

Insect Bites and Tickborne Diseases: Outdoor activities can expose you to insect bites and the risk of tick-borne diseases like Lyme disease. Use insect repellent containing DEET, wear long sleeves and pants in wooded areas, and perform thorough tick checks after outdoor activities. If you find a tick, remove it carefully with tweezers.

Allergies: Pollen, plants, and insect stings can trigger allergic reactions in some individuals. If you or a family member has allergies, carry necessary medications (e.g., antihistamines, epinephrine) and be aware of potential allergens in the outdoor environment.

Injuries: Outdoor activities, particularly those involving physical exertion or equipment (e.g., cycling, rock climbing), can lead to injuries such as sprains, strains, or fractures. Use appropriate safety gear, follow proper techniques, and know your limits. Seek medical attention for serious injuries.

Water Safety: When engaging in water activities like swimming or kayaking, always wear a life jacket, even if you’re a strong swimmer. Be aware of water currents, hidden hazards, and water quality. Supervise children closely around water.

Wildlife Encounters: In areas with wildlife, such as parks or hiking trails, respect their space and do not approach or feed them. Be aware of your surroundings and know how to respond if you encounter wildlife. Keep food securely stored to avoid attracting animals.

Weather Hazards: Be prepared for changes in weather conditions. Check the forecast before heading outdoors and bring appropriate clothing and gear. Avoid outdoor activities during severe weather conditions such as thunderstorms or extreme heat.

Safety Gear: Use appropriate safety gear for each activity, such as helmets for cycling and rock climbing, to reduce the risk of injury. Check equipment regularly for wear and tear.

Taking precautions for the safety of all these activities will help ensure that everyone has a great time outdoors, and no one comes home with a new injury or negative experience. 

 

Being prepared is always better.

Our Jase Case, and Kid Case are perfect to have on hand to stave off concerns of some of these risks, and treat them if they do happen. Allergies, skin irritations, tick-borne diseases, and asthma management are just a few of the things the medications in a Jase Case can treat. 

A great day outdoors can make memories that last a lifetime. Make them good memories. 

Order your Jase Case today

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Mosquito and Tick-Borne Diseases are on the Rise – Don’t be Their Next Victim

Mosquito and tick-borne illnesses have been in the news recently and for good reason- According to the CDC numbers of cases has tripled from 2004-2016. The disabling and sometimes deadly diseases they carry has taken a massive toll on the public. Outbreaks tend to occur in specific regions but recently disease outbreaks for both ticks and mosquitoes have spread to areas outside their normal areas. This has prompted warnings from health departments to take precautions in mosquito and tick infested areas.

It’s important to note that the distribution and prevalence of tick and mosquito borne diseases can vary by region and season. If you experience symptoms after a mosquito or tick bite, seek medical attention promptly for appropriate diagnosis and treatment.

(For a complete list of viruses and parasites that mosquitos carry in the United States go here: CDC list of mosquitos and diseases)

Ticks

Disease carrying ticks are found in all areas of the United States. Each region has its unique set of ticks, however in recent years outbreaks of ticks in areas not normally found have been discovered.

Ticks are vectors for several diseases, meaning they can transmit these diseases to humans and animals when they bite and feed on their blood. Some of the common diseases carried by ticks include:

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Lyme Disease: Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted primarily by black-legged ticks in the United States. Early symptoms may include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans. If left untreated, Lyme disease can lead to more severe symptoms affecting the joints, heart, and nervous system.  Based on insurance records, it is estimated that each year approximately 476,000 Americans are diagnosed and treated for Lyme disease. The highest incidence of Lyme disease is in Vermont and Delaware; however, Wisconsin and Minnesota have also had outbreaks. Lyme is spreading and has the highest incidence of tickborne diseases. If the tick bite caught early, a round of antibiotics which are found in the Jase Case can help prevent long term disability.
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Alpha gal syndrome– Although not a disease, alpha gal syndrome can cause an allergy to red meat. Symptoms include rash, nausea, diarrhea, drop in blood pressure, severe stomach pain. Symptoms appear after eating meat dairy products or medications that contain alpha gal (gelatin coated medications) It is believed to be caused by the lone start tick and is found primarily in among people living in the South, East, and Central United States.

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF): is primarily transmitted by the American dog tick and the Rocky Mountain wood tick. Symptoms may include fever, headache, rash, and muscle aches. RMSF can be severe and even fatal if not treated promptly. Most cases of Rocky Mountain spotted fever have been reported in the eastern U.S., including Georgia, Oklahoma, both North and South Carolina and Tennessee.

Ehrlichiosis: Ehrlichiosis is caused by various species of the bacterium Ehrlichia and is transmitted by lone star ticks and other ticks. Symptoms may include fever, headache, fatigue, muscle aches, and sometimes rash. Severe cases can result in organ failure if not treated. Most cases are found south-central, southeastern, and mid-Atlantic states.

Anaplasmosis: Anaplasmosis is caused by the bacterium Anaplasma phagocytophilum and is transmitted primarily by black-legged ticks. Symptoms may include fever, headache, muscle aches, and fatigue. Like ehrlichiosis, severe cases can lead to organ failure if left untreated. Most cases have been reported in upper Midwest and northeastern United States in areas that correspond with the known geographic distribution of Lyme disease.

Babesiosis: Babesiosis is caused by parasites and is transmitted by black-legged in the United States. It can also be transmitted through blood transfusions. Symptoms may include fever, chills, fatigue, and anemia, which can be severe in people with weakened immune systems. Babesiosis is most frequently reported from the Northeastern and Upper Midwestern United States

Powassan Virus Disease: Powassan virus is a rare but potentially serious viral infection transmitted by black-legged ticks and the groundhog tick. It can cause encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord). In the US, cases are most often seen in the Northeast and the Great Lakes regions.

It’s important to note that the prevalence of these tick-borne diseases can vary by region, and some ticks may carry multiple pathogens.

Tick Removal (Excerpt from CDC)

  1. Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible. The key is to remove the tick as soon as possible. Avoid using nail polish, petroleum jelly, or heat to make the tick detach from the skin.
  2. Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If you are unable to remove the mouth parts easily, leave them alone and let the skin heal.
  3. After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water
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Mosquitos- The world’s deadliest animal, according to the CDC

In the United States, mosquitoes can carry several diseases that pose a threat to public health. Some of the mosquito-borne diseases found in the United States include:

Malaria in Texas and Florida recently discovered. The CDC issued Health Alert Network Health Advisory to notify and share information to clinicians, public health officials and general public. These are the first cases since 2003.In 2002, malaria alone was responsible for around 627,000 deaths worldwide. Symptoms usually start 10 to 15 days after a bite from an infected mosquito, include high fever, chills, nausea or vomiting, headache, diarrhea, and fatigue.

West Nile Virus (WNV): WNV is the most common mosquito-borne disease in the United States. Most people infected with WNV do not show symptoms, but some may experience fever, headache, body aches, joint pain, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. In rare cases, WNV can cause severe neurological complications and even death. In 2021, an outbreak in Maricopa County, Florida of 1,487 human WNV cases were identified; 956 (64.3%) patients had neuroinvasive disease, and 101 (6.8%) died.

Dengue Fever: Dengue fever is caused by the dengue virus. Symptoms of dengue fever include high fever, severe headache, joint and muscle pain, rash, and bleeding tendencies. Dengue is common in the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

La Crosse Encephalitis (LAC): LAC is caused by the La Crosse virus. It primarily affects children and can cause encephalitis with symptoms such as fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, and drowsiness. Outbreaks occur from midwestern states to mid-Atlantic and Southeastern states.

Saint Louis Encephalitis (SLE): SLE is caused by the Saint Louis encephalitis virus. Most outbreaks Most people infected with SLE may not show symptoms, but some may experience fever, headache, dizziness, and, in severe cases, encephalitis. Periodic outbreaks occur year-round in Southern states where weather is temperate and Southwest, Eastern and Central states.

Mosquito and tick prevention

  • Use insect repellent: DEET and other commercially available products have good repellant properties, however it is best to spray on clothing and not directly on skin especially when using on children. If using an essential oil-based repellant, do a patch test by applying to an area of the skin and waiting an hour to make sure there is no reaction. If no reaction (red skin, rash) Use on skin but essential oils must be applied every hour or so for efficacy. Avoid applying to children’s hands, eye area and mouth.

Essential oils that are commonly used as insect repellents:

  • Lemon Eucalyptus Oil: Lemon eucalyptus oil contains a compound which has been found to be as effective as DEET in repelling mosquitoes. The CDC recognizes lemon eucalyptus oil as an effective natural repellent.

Other essential oils with insect repelling properties are: citronella, lavender, peppermint, geranium, cedarwood and tea tree oils.

When using essential oils as repellents, dilute them properly before applying to the skin. Pure essential oils can be irritating to the skin.  Mix the essential oil with a carrier oil, such as coconut oil, jojoba oil, or almond oil, before applying to the skin. Aim for 1-2 drops of essential oil per teaspoon of carrier oil.

Additionally, it’s essential to note that essential oils may not provide as long-lasting protection as commercially available repellents. Reapply them more frequently, especially if you’re in an area with a high concentration of ticks and mosquitoes.

While these studies provide evidence of the repellent properties of essential oils against insects, using essential oils as the sole means of protection in high-risk areas may not be as effective as using EPA-registered insect repellents with proven efficacy.

  • Wear protective clothing: When spending time outdoors in areas where ticks and mosquitoes are common, wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and socks to minimize skin exposure.
  • Avoid peak activity times: Mosquitoes are most active during dawn and dusk, while ticks are more active in warm and humid conditions.
  • Perform regular tick checks: thoroughly check your body and clothing for ticks, especially areas like the scalp, behind the ears, under the arms, inside the belly button, around the waist, and between the legs.
  • Shower after outdoor activities: Taking a shower can help wash away ticks and reduce the risk of bites.
  • Use tick prevention methods for your pets to minimize the risk of bringing ticks into your home. Check pets thoroughly before letting them enter your home.
  • Create a tick-safe zone: keep the grass short and remove leaf litter to reduce tick habitats
  • Remove standing water: Mosquitoes breed in standing water, so regularly empty or remove sources of standing water around your home.
  • Stay on marked trails: When hiking or walking in wooded areas, stay on marked trails and avoid walking through tall grass or brush where ticks are more prevalent.

 

- Brooke Lounsbury, RN

Medical Content Writer

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