Don't be a Tick Head
Some helpful safety tips for those of you who work in heavily wooded areas
With Spring here, the warm weather brings with it the hatching of some very hungry insects. A few of our clients have sent out notices to their members warning them of the dangers of working in heavily wooded areas and how to prevent getting bit by a tick. Below we have included some tips that were sent out from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 2154 based in Western NY and Pennsylvania. This is personal to me because one of my buddies got bit by a tick and contracted Lyme Disease and it never went away. Lyme Disease sucks, so take a moment to read this.
Lyme Disease & Tick Bite Prevention
Lyme disease is caused by bacteria transmitted through the bite of an infected blacklegged (deer) tick. Symptoms can include fatigue, fever, headache and a "bullseye" skin rash. If untreated, infection can spread to the joints, heart and nervous system. Most cases can be treated with antibiotics but tick bite prevention is the best precaution. Ticks that transmit Lyme disease can usually be found in wooded, brushy places with tall grasses, shrubs and high relative humidity at ground level. In some locations within our operating territory, 7 out of 10 deer ticks carry Lyme Disease.
Best Practices for Preventing Tick Bites:
- Wear light colored clothing so you are able to see and remove ticks Wear long pants; tuck pant legs in to boots and seal with tape
- Wear long sleeve shirts; tape shirt sleeves to seal openings at the wrists Inspect clothing and skin for ticks frequently throughout the day
- Apply Bug Band insect repellent to skin & clothing.
When working in tick areas on a regular basis, wear Insect Shield clothing for maximum protection. Both pants and shirts are stocked in MMD.
At the end of day, shower and wash hair thoroughly; check body for ticks. If there is a chance ticks entered your vehicle by dropping off your skin or clothing, apply Spectracide Bug Stop to the vehicle interior. Maintain pipeline rights-of-way and vegetated areas by mowing regularly. Be sure co-workers and visitors are aware of areas with tick populations and take precautions when working in those areas. Provide visitors with proper PPE.
If a Tick is Attached to Your Skin:
Remove the tick as soon as possible. Report it to your supervisor immediately and consider medical attention. Supervisors: report all tick bites to Risk Safety as soon as possible
Additional Notes about Deet and Permethrin:
Insect repellents with Deet might prevent ticks from biting an area of skin that has been sprayed, however, ticks have been observed crawling over an area of skin sprayed with Deet to get to an untreated area. Don't trust Deet alone to protect you from tick bites. Bug Band products use all natural ingredients that are more effective than Deet for repelling ticks. Insect Shield clothing and self-applied permethrin-based repellents for clothing have been field tested and are effective, however, ticks have been known to survive up to 5 hours after contacting a permethrin-treated garment. As always, be sure to follow manufacturers directions when using all insect repellents.