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Tick Myths Debunked

Stay safe this summer by knowing the truth about ticks

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Greenwich, CT | Added on June 25, 2014 At 05:32 PM

It's tick season again in Connecticut. Covering up and using repellent spray are commonly known things to do to protect yourself, but there are some myths about ticks that need to get set straight. 

"After this winter I met a lot of people who said, 'well it's been so cold and so frozen for so long, surely the ticks are gone.' Wrong, absolutely wrong! The ticks simply go into a dormant state, and if the temperature is less than 32 degrees about, they become dormant, but they don't die," said Executive Director of the Lyme Research Alliance Peter Wild. 

How deep a person goes into the woods also does not change the chances of getting a tick. 

"Ticks need high humidity to survive. They need 80 percent humidity. They are going to be in a place where those conditions are around, so tall grass, wet leaves, pachysandra, long grass on the lawn, and shady areas are where ticks will be," said Director of the Greenwich Department of Public Health Lab Doug Serafin. 

"And actually the place where ticks thrive the most is around the edges of forests and boarders of forests. If you look at typical suburban areas, they sort of mimic that because every home is like the edge of the forest," said Wild. 

To clean clothing after leaving the outdoors, most people think to just throw them in the washer machine, but that's something that could help a tick survive longer. 

"What will kill them is do the same thing, take your clothes off, but put them in the dryer. Put them in the dryer on high heat for five or ten minutes, and no ticks will survive that. Then you can put them in the washer," said Wild.  

If you do find a tick on your body, do not squeeze it. 

"The best way to remove it is with a pair of pointy tweezers. The tick does not burrow into the skin, another myth. Some people think it goes in, but only the mouth parts of the tick attach," said Serafin. 

Once a tick is removed, it can be sent to the Greenwich Department of Health to be tested for Lyme Disease. 

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