As the weather warms up and activities move outdoors the risk of encountering biting insects increases. Ticks and spiders are among the most common outdoor nuisances during the summer months that can cause illness.
Nita Hackwell, preventative medicine and environmental health at Blanchfield Army Community Hospital offers prevention strategies to help Soldiers and their Families reduced the risk as well as what to do if a bite is suspected.
Campbell Crossing has a robust pest control program and will quickly send at specialist out to a home if a problem is suspected.
“Campbell Crossing is fully committed to the safety and well-being of all our residents,” said Karsten Haake, Lendlease project director for Campbell Crossing. “We investigate all insect complaints and take all health and safety issues very seriously.”
In addition to calling Campbell Crossing’s maintenance department residents can submit a maintenance request through their RentCafe Resident App or the Resident Portal by visiting their website at www.campbellcrossingllc.com.
In the Fort Campbell area, six types of ticks have been observed. The Lone Star tick accounts for approximately 83% of ticks found in the area; the American Dog tick accounts for approximately 12%; and remaining 5% includes the Gulf Coast tick, the blacklegged tick, also known as the deer tick; and the rabbit tick. Of those the Lone Star and Gulf Coast ticks have tested positive for tick-borne illnesses, Hackwell said.
Haake stresses the importance of checking everyone in the Family for ticks.
“For ticks, residents should thoroughly check themselves, Family members and pets each time they enter the home from being outdoors,” he said. “As pets are one of the main ways ticks enter the home, residents are encouraged to talk to their veterinarian about the best preventative options available for their pets.”
Because ticks are primarily found in tall grass or weeds, woods and leaf litter, prevention measures include keeping the yard mowed and shrubs trimmed. If you suspect you are entering a tick-infested area, Hackwell recommends wearing light colored, long pants that are tucked into boots and long-sleeved shirts tucked into pants and using an Environmental Protection Agency registered product that contains DEET or picaridin on exposed skin.
“A permethrin spray may also be used on clothing and using a lint roller on the outside of clothing can help remove ticks before they get inside clothing.” she said.
If a tick is found on the skin, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends using a fine-tipped tweezer to grab the tick as close to the skin as possible and not squeezing it. To remove the tick, pull firmly with steady, even pressure without yanking or twisting.
If you are bitten by a tick, be wary of circular rashes and flu-like symptoms that include fever, headache, chills, muscular aches and fatigue as those can be indications of tick-borne illness and you should seek medical attention. Itching and redness at the site of a bite is normal.
In this area there are only two spiders that are of concern – the Brown Recluse and the Black Widow. Both are venomous and tend to live in areas that are dark, secluded, and are not often disturbed, Hackwell said. They can be found in wood piles, leaf litter, plants, corners of rooms, under or behind furniture, closets and inside clothing and shoes.
Most people do not even feel the bite from a Brown Recluse until hours after the fact, she said.
“People don’t know they have been bitten until about eight hours later when the bite site begins to become red, swollen, and tender,” Hackwell said “If a bite is suspected, apply ice to the site, elevate the affected area and seek medical attention.”
According to the CDC, “the venom of a brown recluse can cause a severe lesion by destroying skin tissue. This skin lesion will require professional medical attention.”
Symptoms for a spider bite include itching, rash, pain radiating from the bite, muscle pain, reddish to purplish color or blister, increased sweating, difficulty breathing, headache, fever, nausea and vomiting.
While the bite from a Brown Recluse is almost unnoticeable until later, a Black Widow bite will likely be felt immediately, Hackwell said.
“If bitten, there will be pain at the bite site and can spread to the chest, abdomen, or the entire body,” she said. “Two red marks from the fangs may be present on the skin.”
If a bite is suspected it is important to seek medical attention immediately, Hackwell emphasized.
Prevention measures are similar to that of ticks, she said, but with the added precaution of shaking out shoes before putting them on, wearing gloves when working outside, sealing gaps around the home and putting down sticky traps.
If a Campbell Crossing resident suspects a pest issue, they are encouraged to contact the maintenance department at 931-431-3966 and a pest control professional will be sent out to assess the situation.
“The pest control professional will speak to the resident regarding a plan to manage the particular pest issue they are experiencing,” Haake said. “It is important to note that many pest control issues may require more than one treatment to mitigate the issue.”
Campbell Crossing practices integrated pest management, he said, so it is important to understand that not all pest control issues will involve the application of pesticides.
“There are many instances where the issue can be resolved through other means such as using physical, environmental and biological methods,” Haake said. “This form of pest control helps to ensure a safer environment for our residents.”