How To Protect Yourself from Tick Diseases in Massachusetts

Tick diseases have proven to be a nasty threat in the past few years. Because of this, Safer Nature has developed some basic guidelines to help our customers maintain safer living environments in the world of common and not-so-common pests. 

Safer Nature also uses traditional and organic pest control in Massachusetts. We like to provide you with a choice of how you want to protect yourself and your environment. Both methods of pest control are popular and effective. But you can enhance your protection by following these steps to avoid tick diseases in humans and dog tick diseases.

Tick Proof Your Home

There are so many tick diseases and vectors that it has become essential to tick-proof your home. 

Tick disease risks and sources

Anyone living in Massachusetts runs the risk of picking up any of the following Ixodes tick diseases or deadly infections from other types of ticks:

  • Rabbit tick – spreads Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF) and tularemia in animals. 
  • Winter tick – or moose tick – this tick does not seem to carry disease but is parasitic on moose and other ungulates.
  • Brown dog tick diseases include canine ehrlichiosis and canine babesiosis. These ticks also carry RMSF or Rickettsia rickettsii in dogs and people.
  • Lone Star tick diseases – includes southern tick-associated rash illness or STARI, tularemia, and Bourbon or Heartland virus disease. Others are ehrlichiosis and sometimes a tick disease red meat allergy (alpha-gal syndrome), which can be fatal.
  • Eastern black legged tick diseases (deer tick diseases) – includes Powassan and Lyme disease. (Link Lyme disease to this article: What Is Lyme Disease and How Can You Stay Safe?)
  • The American dog tick diseases in dogs and people – Lyme disease, Canine Bartonellosis, Canine Ehrlichiosis, Canine Babesiosis, Canine Anaplasmosis, Canine Hepatozoonosis, and RMSF.
  • Groundhog tick or Ixodes cookei – can cause Powassan disease.
  • Asian long-horned tick – spreads Rickettsia rickettsii or spotted fever rickettsiosis.

These ticks often infect people and animals, but some ticks only feed on wildlife, like the rabbit tick. This tick can carry Lyme disease but rarely transmits the disease to people.

Steps to tick-proofing your home

Because the risk of catching tick diseases is so high for pets and people, we suggest you tick-proof your home using the following methods:

  1. Ticks like long grass and hiding places, so keep your lawn short and your garden free of mess, like leaves, and trim the brush.
  2. Use gravel or wood chips to build a barrier around your property because this makes it difficult for ticks to move into your space.
  3. Buy tick-bait boxes and tubes to place around your property for extra protection.
  4. Use deer-proof fencing around your property to protect your garden. Using additional deer-proof fencing around play areas is also a good idea.
  5. Speak to us about a quote for pest control and management because we service a major part of Massachusetts.

Steps to Keep Your Family and Pets Safe From Tick Bites

We suggest that our customers follow these basic guidelines to protect themselves and their pets from common tick diseases:

  1. Keep tick-control products and medication in the house.
  2. Prevent your pets from roaming around tick-dense bushes.
  3. Wear protective clothing such as tops with long sleeves, long pants, and socks. In other words, cover as much skin as possible when walking in the bush.
  4. Ticks love long grasses and woodlands. Avoid these areas, especially in the tick season (March/April to August and October to November).
  5. Spray insect repellant on your skin and clothing before venturing into the brush. Repellants containing picaridin, DEET, or lemon eucalyptus are the most effective on your skin. Permethrin is suitable to use on clothing and outdoor gear. (Despite authorities listing DEET as safe, it is advisable to exercise caution when buying products containing this ingredient. It is also best to check the percentage content of DEET when buying repellants).
  6. Buy a suitable repellant for your pets and use this to protect them before walking your dogs. Make sure that you’re using repellants that are safe for dogs and cats.
  7. Always check your body and your pets for ticks after being outdoors. Run your hands through your hair and feel around soft body spots for ticks on yourself and your dogs. Take a hot shower where you can check yourself thoroughly.
  8. Always remove, wash, and dry your clothes at a hot temperature immediately upon returning home after spending time outdoors.
  9. Understand the symptoms of tick diseases in people and dogs. When you know what to look for, you can react quickly and get help for yourself or your pets.

How to Remove Ticks Safely

Avoid worsening the risk of tick diseases by following myths about safely removing ticks. There is only one way to remove ticks safely, and here it is:

Wear gloves and always use tweezers to remove the tick. Grab it gently as close to the skin as possible (yours or your pet’s). Draw the tweezers away from the skin in a controlled motion to avoid leaving the tick’s mouth parts stuck in the skin. Wash your hands with soap and water and disinfect the area with rubbing alcohol.

Keep a close eye out for flu-like symptoms in the weeks to come. If you see a bull’s eye rash, make an immediate appointment to see your doctor. If your dog develops symptoms, quickly take them to the vet for an examination and test if necessary.

Symptoms of tick diseases in dogs include lethargy, loss of appetite, vomiting, difficulty breathing, coughing, and changes in their bark. Other signs of infection are diarrhea and losing control over their back legs.

What Should You Do With Ticks After Removal?

Your best bet is to place the tick in a glass bottle with fresh grass for survival if you want to test it. If you keep it for a few weeks, you can send it to a laboratory for testing should you or your pet develop symptoms.

Your medical doctor or vet can provide details of where to test the tick if you feel it is necessary. Note the date you removed the tick and the area on your body or your pet’s body from which it was extracted.

Once you’re satisfied that you have enough evidence for analysis and treatment, submerge it in rubbing alcohol until it is dead and flush it down the toilet.

NEVER squash the tick, as this increases the chances of spreading the disease. Also, avoid touching the tick with your hands, as this is also a high-risk action.

Protect Your Space With Safer Nature

Ticks increase their activity and reproduction at certain times of the year. Understanding these times and protecting your property, yourself, and pets can reduce the chances of picking up tick diseases.

You can control your life by taking basic precautions and tick-proofing your property with Safer Nature pest control. Our organic tick control solutions are eco-friendly and effective. Our traditional pest control methods are rapid and effective. In our experience, our customers favor both techniques.

When you choose Safer Nature, you are taking a positive step towards enjoying a lifestyle in Massachusetts primarily free of deer tick diseases.

Contact us today for peace of mind in dealing with these dangerous pests.