A public health summer message – helpful tips to prevent ticks

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Abby Koah
  • 11th Medical Group
National Public Health Week runs from April 2-8, 2018. The 11th Medical Group, Public Health Flight, will have a series of information displays set up at the 11 MDG clinic, JBA commissary and west side gymnasium, to pass along helpful tips regarding ticks and how to help keep everyone safe while outside.

As families spend more time outdoors taking advantage of the warm weather, the risk of tick bites increases. Ticks spread diseases and are a major health concern, especially in heavily wooded and grassy areas.

“Ticks crawl up long blades of grass near trails, waiting to ambush a host,” said Maj. Leah Chapman, 11th Medical Group public health officer. “They can detect prey through an olfactory organ on their legs that helps them recognize when something is warm and breathing. They stick up their front legs and grab on to you, your dog or a deer as you walk by. This host-seeking behavior is called questing.”

If you know you are going to be in a high tick area, use repellent on exposed skin. It should contain 20 percent or more DEET, picaridin, or IR3535. You can also treat your clothing with .5 percent Permethrin for more prevention. Always read the product instructions before using.

Once you return home, do a full-body tick check. A good tip is to shower two hours after coming inside to easily find ticks that are crawling on you. Always make sure to check your clothes and pets as well. Ticks can travel from your pets to you.

If you find a tick attached to you or your family members, you should remove it by using fine-tipped tweezers. Grasp the tick as close to your skin’s surface as possible and pull up with steady, even pressure to remove the tick (do not twist or jerk because this can cause the mouth parts to break off in the skin). Once the tick is removed clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water. Removed ticks should be brought to the Joint Base Andrews Public Health office, building 1050, to be sent for testing.

The most common symptoms of tick-related illnesses are fever, chills, aches and rashes. If you experience any of these symptoms and believe you were bitten by a tick, you should go see your health care provider.

Everyone deserves to live a long and healthy life in a safe environment. For more information call the JBA Public Health office at 240-612-1868 or visit www.CDC.gov.

Information displays will be held at the following locations,dates and times:

Monday, April 2, 2018
11 a.m. – 1 p.m. - 11 MDG Main Lobby
2-3 p.m. - JBA Food Court

Tuesday, April 3, 2018
11 a.m. – 1 p.m. - 11 MDG Main Lobby
2-3 p.m. - JBA Commissary

Wednesday, April 4, 2018
11 a.m. – 1 p.m. - 11 MDG Main Lobby
2 - 3 p.m. - JBA West Side Gymnasium

Thursday, April 5, 2018
11 a.m. -1 p.m. - 11 MDG Main Lobby
2 - 3 p.m. - JBA Commissary

Friday, April 6, 2018
11 a.m. – 1 p.m. - 11 MDG Main Lobby
2 - 3 p.m. - JBA Food Court