2014-04-23 / Columns

Owen County Health Department Nurse's Notes

by Sandra Miller, R.N.

Spring is really trying to arrive at last! The weather is warmer and trees and flowers are blooming. With all that wonderful stuff there are other less pleasant things returning, such as ticks. It is time to start watching for them on yourself and your pets and taking measures to reduce the possibility of having ticks reach the skin and attach.

Avoiding tick-infested areas is your best protection, but this is not always possible due to work or recreational activities. Here are some ways to protect yourself:

•Avoid wooded and bushy areas with high grass and leaf litter.

•Walk in the center of trails when possible.

•Wear shoes that cover the entire foot (no sandals), socks and long pants. Stuff pant legs into socks. Wearing light-colored clothing can make it easier to see crawling ticks and remove them.

•Use insect repellents with DEET on clothing and skin, following manufacturer’s instructions.

•Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors to wash off and to more easily find ticks. Parents should check children for ticks under arms, in and around ears, behind knees, around the waist, and especially in the hair.

If you find a tick attached to your skin use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the shin as possible; pull upward with a steady, even pressure. If the mouth parts break off and remain in the skin, remove with tweezers if possible. If you are unable to remove the mouth parts, leave the area alone and let it heal. Cleanse the skin after tick removal with alcohol or soap and water.


For women who need assistance, free mammograms are available through the Owen County Health Department. Please call me, Sandy Miller, at 829-5017. I am in the office on Tuesdays and Fridays to schedule appointments.

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It looks like Spring is almost ready to stick around. What activity are you looking forward to the most?