How Can I Protect My Family from SFTS and Other Tick Borne Illnesses?

east asian tickTicks spread a number of serious illnesses. In the news there have been reports of SFTS, which is spread by the East Asian Tick that was recently introduce to United States. Currently, this tick is only found in the New Jersey area, and it is not in the Arlington area. However, the tick is expected to spread throughout the United States since it is extremely invasive. The experts are predicting a record tick season in Virginia, which increases your chances of contracting an illness from a tick. There are things that you can do to protect your family from SFTS and other tick-borne illnesses.

Protect Your Yard

One of the best ways to protect your family is to have a tick treatment applied to your yard. This will kill the ticks that are there and also creates a barrier around your yard that will stop ticks from wandering in. Getting rid of any leaf litter in your yard also helps, as does keeping your lawn short.

Dress Appropriately

When you go into areas that are prone to ticks, it is important to dress appropriately. You can do this by wearing long sleeves and long pants. When you tuck your shirt in and your pants into your socks, you give the ticks fewer places that they can come into contact with your skin. Once you leave an area that has ticks, you should check your clothing, because you may be able to brush off any ticks that are on your clothing before they have the chance to attach.

Wear Insect Repellent

Insect repellent is very good at stopping ticks from biting you. DEET is the most effective treatment for ticks. It comes in a number of different strengths. Once your child is two months old, it is safe to use insect repellent up to 25% DEET. If you are older, you can use 40% or higher if you know you will be spending an extended period of time in area with ticks. Be sure to reapply according the package directions.

Check for Ticks

It is important to regularly check for ticks. You should check under your arms, between your legs and behind your knees for ticks. You should also check around your hairline and in your ears. The sooner you find and remove a tick the better. This is because the ticks spread the disease when the regurgitate. If you find a tick, remove it with a pair of tweezers by pulling straight back. Never using gasoline, rubbing alcohol or Vaseline because this will cause the tick to regurgitate into your skin and it will increase the chances of you getting sick.

 

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What Is the East Asian Tick?

east asian tick
Image courtesy of NIAID via Flickr CC by 2.0

The East Asian tick is a tick that is mostly brown in color. It is a tick that is considered very invasive, meaning it can quickly establish itself in an area. It is able to reproduce asexually. These ticks are often found in large numbers and can be very difficult to completely eliminate.

How Did the East Asian Tick Get to the United States?

No one is sure how the East Asian tick came to the United States. It was first found this fall in new Jersey. The officials there tried to eradicate it but were unable to. They just determined that is firmly established in New Jersey. It has not been identified in other areas of the United States including the Virginia Beach area. However, no one is sure how long it will take for the tick to spread outside of New Jersey.

Why Are People Worried About the East Asian Tick?

One of the reasons people are concerned about this tick is it is a known carrier of STFS, which is a serious illness. The ticks can also transmit other illnesses such as including Japanese spotted fever. They are often spotted around farm animals, but can also attach themselves to other animals including deer.

Should I Worry About Other Ticks Too?

The wet winter means that there should be a large tick population this year. Although the East Asian tick has not been identified in Virginia Beach yet, a number of other ticks have. These ticks also carry illnesses that can make you, your family or your pets very sick. These illnesses include Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Stair and Lyme disease. Ticks can bite throughout the year and the small ticks, also called seed ticks, are very prevalent in the spring.

What Steps Can I Take to Stop Tick Bites?

There are steps you can take to protect yourself from tick bites. The first is to treat your yard for ticks. This allows you to enjoy your time outside without worrying about being bitten. Be sure to check for ticks often, especially after visiting a tick-prone area. You can wear insect repellent with DEET in it to reduce the chances of being bitten. Dressing in love sleeves and long pants can help. If you tuck your pants into your socks and your shirt into your pants, you lower the chance of being bitten. If you find a tick, you should remove it with tweezers and then flush it down the toilet or wrap it in tape.

How Likely Am I to be Bitten by the East Asian Tick in Manassas?

east asian tick
Image courtesy of Fairfax County via Flickr CC by N.D. 2.0

There have recent reports about the East Asian tick in the news. This tick has just been identified as establishing itself in the United States. This tick species is considered extremely invasive and it is hard to eradicate. At this time the East Asian tick has only been found in New Jersey, so it is unlikely that you will be bitten by this tick in Manassas. However, it will likely spread and it is something that you should be aware of in the upcoming years.

Can Ticks Make Me Sick?

The East Asian tick is a known carrier of the SFTS virus which has not been found in the United States. This virus causes people to become quite ill. Since it is a virus there is not a known treatment, instead doctors will try to manage the symptoms and help you recover. There is a mortality rate of about twelve percent. There are other tick-borne illnesses in the United states including STARI, Rocky Mount spotted fever and Lyme disease. However, these can be treated with antibiotics and cured if caught early enough.

What Areas Are Prone to Ticks?

Experts have predicted a very active 2018 tick season. This means that you should be aware of any areas that may have ticks. They tend to like areas with leaf litter, areas with tall grass or bushes or the woods. You may be more likely to pick up a tick when camping or hunting, but they can be found in your backyard or at your city park too.

How Do I Check for Ticks?

It is important to check for ticks on a regular basis. You should check your clothing as soon as you leave a tick prone area. You may be able to brush the ticks off and avoid bringing them home for you. Once you arrive home, you should change your clothes and check behind your knees, under your arms and between your legs. They also like to attach themselves around your hairline or in your ears.

What Do I Do If I Find a Tick?

You should only remove the tick with tweezers by pulling straight back. Do not twist the tick to make it come loose, because it can leave its head embedded in your skin which can cause an infection. Once the tick is detached, you should dispose of it properly. You should not crush it with your hands because this increase the chances of you contracting an illness. If you start to develop signs of a tick-borne illness which usually includes a fever, you should seek medical attention and tell your doctor you were bitten by a tick.

What Danger Does the East Asian Tick Pose to People in North Carolina?

east asian tick
Image courtesy of Richard Bartz CC by-SA 2.5

The East Asian tick has been on the news because it has been found in the United States. This tick is originally from Asia. It is recognized as a highly invasive species. It multiplies rapidly. It can reproduce asexually. When the East Asian tick is found, it is usually found in large numbers. There has been a case reported where enough ticks attached to one cow that they drained the cow until it died.

Should I Be Concerned About the East Asian Tick?

The main concern at this time is that the tick will spread throughout the United States. Currently, it is not in North Carolina, but officials are not sure how quickly it will spread. It does not respond well to attempts to contain it so the chances are that it will eventually reach North Carolina. The major concern is that the East Asian tick carries SFTS, which is a dangerous virus. There is no known treatment for the virus, instead doctors will manage the symptoms as the patients go through the course of the illness.

How Do I Identify Different Types of Ticks?

It can be difficult to identify the different types of ticks. The East Asian tick is brown and does not have spots or patterns on the back. However, this is similar to other ticks. The best option is to take the tick to the doctor or to your agricultural department to have it identified. Once you remove the tick, you should place it on a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol and seal it in a zipper bag. The experts can look at the tick and determine what it is. If you find a tick that you have not seen before, you should have it checked out.

What Can I Do to Prevent Tick Bites?

There are a number of things you can do to prevent tick bites. When you are going into an area that has a lot of ticks, you should wear insect repellent with DEET. Wearing long sleeves and long pants can help too. You can treat your yard for ticks, and if you are worried about your children being bitten or if you live near woods, this is a good option. The tick season is expected to be record breaking with a large outbreak in North Carolina. There are already several types of ticks in the area that can spread diseases, and you should be protecting your family from them.

How to Get Rid Of Fleas in Your Clothes

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More and more people today are keeping pets for comfort and companionship. However, pets also cause people to have to face many problems. One of the most annoying issues that most people have to deal with is fleas. Fleas can appear in every corner of the house such as in carpets, in beds, on your cats and dogs and on your clothes. Today, we will focus on treating fleas on your clothes.

Detect Problems

To eradicate fleas in your clothes in the most effective way, it is advised that you should find and detect the original cause of the flea infestation. First, you should check your pets as a flea infestation usually originates with them. If the cause of fleas in your clothes is your pets, you will need to give your pets some treatments to get rid of their fleas. This could be bathing them in flea shampoo and applying flea collars.

After detecting and treating the fleas on your pets, if any, you should remove them from the area for a while before implementing the next steps. This is because fleas can jump over a long distance, thus if you do not remove your pets, they may jump straight back onto your pets, making all your hard work for nothing. Then, check your wardrobe, your carpets and rugs to find the things that have fleas on. You can now take steps to eradicate them.

Steps for Removal

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If you find out that the fleas are in your clothes, the following steps would enable you to eradicate them effectively. Firstly, make sure you put all infested clothing into a sturdy plastic bag and seal it up. This step will prevent you from spreading fleas while you are transporting your clothes to the washing machine or laundry facility.

You can now use a vacuum cleaner to eradicate any fleas’ eggs that are left. You should vacuum your carpets, floors, bed, and wardrobe thoroughly. Steam cleaning these things would be even more effective, as fleas will not survive the high temperatures. Wash all your clothes at the highest temperature your washing machine can reach. Once they’re dry, iron them thoroughly to kill any remaining flea eggs.

Once all this has been done, use some natural flea control products to prevent the fleas coming back again. This may be cedar wood blocks in your wardrobe or sprinkling it with essential oil such as lavender or tea tree oil.

Finally, keep your clothes in a dry place as this can prevent a re-infestation. Fleas like to live and breed in dark, humid places. It’s important to make sure that your house is always kept in a clean, tidy and sanitary condition.

Prevention

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is a wise old saying. It is necessary to take some preventative steps after removing existing fleas on your pets and in your home. Here are a few tips to help you.

Vacuuming daily

It is important to vacuum your entire house daily. Because one female flea can lay up to fifty eggs a day, vacuuming daily is the best prevention method to protect your pets and your home.

Wash and launder regularly

 Do not leave your dirty clothes for more than three days before washing them. This will prevent fleas maturing and laying eggs on your clothes. Fleas prefer humid, dark and dirty places, which sounds just like a laundry basket! Thus, always do your laundry regularly

Use natural flea products

All the above-mentioned methods can help protect you from fleas. However, you should take the additional step of using natural flea products. This is one of the most effective prevention and treatment methods for fleas. One suggestion is cedar oil products, which can be sprayed onto your pets or around the yard and house. Another is to plant rosemary or lavender plants in pots around the outside of the house.

I hope that all the above steps can help you confront the problem of fleas in your clothes. You can find more flea treatments on this website.

Do I Need to Worry about Getting Bed Bugs?

pexels-photo-935777Bed bugs disappeared for several years, but they have made a strong comeback in the last twenty years. They are spreading throughout the United States. Many people have questions about bed bugs, because people in the United States have not had to deal with them for a long time. It can be difficult to deal with bed bugs. While it is still not very common to get bed bugs, it is possible.

Be Careful When Traveling

One of the most common ways to pick up bed bugs is by traveling. It does not matter if you are staying in a budget friendly hotel or in a 5-star hotel, you can still have the chance of picking up bed bugs. You should check your room before you unpack to look for signs of bed bugs. You may see signs of droppings in the bedding, on the mattress and bed springs. You should also check behind the headboard for signs of bed bugs. Be sure to keep your luggage off the bed and the floor to prevent the bed bugs from wandering in while you are sleeping.

College Students and Staying in Dorms

It is possible to bring bed bugs home from staying in the dorms or living in a college apartment. If your child has complained about bed bugs, you will need to take steps to make sure that they do not bring them home with them when they come home from school over Christmas break or over the summer. You may opt to have them leave all their clothes behind and their luggage and start fresh because dealing with deb bugs can be time consuming and costly.

Watch Out at the Gym

Bed bugs are opportunistic and will travel from one place to another by crawling into any bag or luggage. Someone with bed bugs may not realize that they are bringing them to the gym with them in their gym bag. Once at the gym, the bed bugs will crawl out and look for a new bag to crawl into. Then you will take them home with you. If you have heard of issues at your gym, you may want to change at home to avoid the issue.

Schools and Public Buildings

The issue with schools and public buildings is similar to the gym. Students may bring them to school in their backpacks and end up infesting several different backpacks. If your school has an issue, they may ban backpacks until it is cleared up. Public buildings may have a similar issue, to avoid picking them up, be sure to keep your bag off the floor.

3 Steps to Prevent Wildlife from Hanging Around

raccoon-1905528_640While it is common to see squirrels and even the occasional raccoon, there are dangers of wildlife of spending a lot of time on your property. Wildlife belongs outdoors and there really is no way to keep all wildlife off your property. Snakes, birds, worms, and other insects all have an important part in the ecosystem. The key is to coexist with these animals without putting your family at risk. There are a few things you can do to protect your family.

1. Cover Your Trash

Your trash is actually a big draw for a lot of different types of wildlife. The key is to make sure that your trash cans cannot be tipped over and that the lids shut tightly. If you live in a city, you likely have trashcans that are designed to do this. Be sure not to overfill the trash can and to make sure the trash is picked up on a regular basis. If you compost be sure to set the composting bin up away from your house. Be sure that you clean up any fruit that falls from trees in your yard too.

2. Keep Your Yard Neat and Trim

Another issue that you need to address is keeping your yard neat and trim. Mice like to hide in long grass. If things are overgrown, it will attract mice, which will attract snakes, and other wildlife. Taking the time to keep the land around your yard neat and trimmed back can really help to protect your home and deter wildlife from setting up a nest in and around your home.

3. Fix Your Fencing

Another step you can take is to make sure that your fencing does not have any holes or breaks in them. If you have a garden, you can install a fence that should help to keep the deer and bunnies out. If you have a play area, you can also fence it in. You need to be aware of the different types of animals that may be around your home, and realize that a fence will not work for all animals.

Get Help with Trapping

If you are having an issue with a raccoon setting up a home in your crawlspace or a fox that keeps hanging around, you will need to address the issue. It is best to hire a professional to trap and remove the wild animal. They can release it into a rural area where it will not be a problem for you or others. Laying out poisons may mean that you accidentally poison one of your pets or a neighbor’s pets.

5 Dangers of Wildlife on Your Property

Dangers of Wildlife on Your Property
Image courtesy of Kevin Law CC by S.A.-2.0

Wildlife is a common occurrence in rural areas, and it is even common to see some wildlife in cities. You may be dealing with raccoons, moles, squirrels, deer and even foxes. While wildlife is common and an important part of nature, it is not necessarily a good idea to have a lot of wildlife on your property. There are dangers that wildlife can carry, and you may need to have some of the wildlife trapped and removed from your property or set up fences to keep it out of your home. Here are five dangers of wildlife on your property.

Danger to Your Pets

Wildlife can be a danger to your pets. If the wildlife has contracted rabies and is behaving erratically, it may be more likely to attack your pets. Some wildlife like coyotes may prove dangerous to your small dogs or cats. Raccoons will also defend their territory and may pose a threat to your animals that approach them. You will need to take your pet to the vet if they are bitten by animal.

Chance of Being Bitten

Some types of wildlife may be dangerous for your children as well. Raccoons are aggressive if your children accidentally stumble on a nest. Woodchucks have a powerful bite and strong teeth and can do serious damage to your home. Poisonous snakes also pose a problem for your children and will need to be addressed if they are on your property.

Exposure to Feces

Some of the animal feces can contain parasites that they can seriously impact your family if they even just accidentally step in it or disturb it. Raccoons have a parasite that will burrow into different areas of your body and leave a cyst that can cause issues years later. The best way to protect your family from these areas is to keep the animals away from your family.

Damage to Your Property

Wildlife can damage your property. If they get into your crawlspace or your attic, they can pull apart your insulation, chew through wiring and wreak havoc on your HVAC system. They can also chew through your fence, tip over trash cans and they can ruin your vegetable garden. Even birds and bats can damage your home if they live in your attic.

Risk of Contracting an Illness

Wildlife can spread a number of different illnesses. They can also carry fleas which can also spread a number of diseases. There is also the chance of it spreading illnesses like rabies. Watching out for more aggressive animals can help you prevent from contracting an illness.

Why Does My Home Smell Musty?

Why Does My Home Smell MustyThe air in your home can directly affect your and your family’s health. There are a number of different reasons why your home may have a musty smell. The first step that you need to do is to identify why your home is smelling musty and then you can take the steps to address it.

 

 

Address Things That Are Causing the Smell

Your home may smell musty because it is holding onto old cooking odors or there may be issues with having a pet. If this is the case, you will need to address the issues by addressing the smells. Cleaning your home thoroughly can help. Be sure to wash your dishes right away and to wipe down the counters and stove food. Taking out the trash can help. If you have issues due to having pets in your home, you can address this in a few different ways. You may need to bathe your pet more often and be sure to wash any bedding they sleep in on a regular basis. You may want to have the carpets cleaned more regularly. If you are a smoker, you may be facing issues with this smell. Make sure your home can air out, and try to smoke next to an open window. Cleaning your furniture and your drapes can also help with this.

Look for Other Issues

 

If you have a strong mildew or mold smell in your home, you will need to look for what may be causing this smell. You should begin by looking in your crawlspace or basement for issues. Check to see if there is moisture in this area. You should look for signs of mold growth on the wood or insulation. If the area is damp, you need to address this because it can lead to mold growing and the air in your crawlspace does affect the overall air quality of your home. This may need to be addressed by a professional that can encapsulate or seal off your crawlspace. This will address any mold issues and help with your heating and cooling bills too.

 

 

Find Trouble Spots

You may find that there is one room in your home where the smell is stronger than others.  If you have an issue with a bathroom that is always smelly, you may need to have the plumbing checked to make sure that the pipes are vented properly and that there isn’t anything trapped or any clogs. You should make sure that the ventilation system in your bathroom works properly as well as that there is no mold in the bathrooms. This should help overall.

 

 

 

Are Fire Ants an Issue in Virginia?

fire ants in VirginiaFire ants are an invasive species of ant that are spreading throughout the United States. They do better in warmer climates, so they tend to be found in the southern parts of the United States more than the northern parts.  They can be found from California to Florida and are pushing a bit more north every year.

Fire Ants in Virginia Beach

Fire ants have been reported around Roanoke and Richmond and in areas near Virginia Beach. They are growing more each year and may be an issue in your yard. Fire ant colonies can be quite extensive with large tunneling systems. They have been an issue in Virginia Beach and the Hampton Roads area. It is important to understand the threats that fire ants can pose.

Dangers of Fire Ants

The biggest danger of fire ants is there bite, which stings. When fire ants bite, it will leave a large welt. Often people are bitten by several fire ants at nearly the same time, and when they are disturbed, many fire ants will attack at once. Fire ant bites can cause a serious allergic reaction in some people. They will also attack and eat small animals.  People who have been bitten by a fire ant never forget how strong the sting is. It can take a while for the stinging to go away and then bite can be painful for a while.

Spotting Fire Ants

Usually you will see the fire ant mounds before you see the ants themselves. The mounds can be quite large almost, a foot hide and about eighteen inches in diameter. They will start out smaller and look like sandy piles. Fire ant mounds do not have holes in the top of them. Fire ants are reddish brown and larger than most ants. If you see fire ants, you should steer clear. Be careful of stepping on the mounds. If find the mounds, you should keep your family members clear of the area until you can treat the area.

Treating Fire Ants

Fire ants can be difficult to treat because they will flee the mound you are treating through their extensive tunneling system. They will then build a new colony and mounds somewhere else in your yard. A professional can be sure to completely eliminate the fire ants for you. In order to eliminate the colony, you need to be sure to kill the queen and be sure that you treat all the possible mounds and tunnels that they have created.