Letter: Make your clothing tick proof
Vermont and New Hampshire are currently in the midst of an extreme tick infestation. I have been seeing many patients with tick related problems such as tick bites, embedded mouth parts, Lyme disease and Anaplasma. The vast majority of these patients are unaware that their clothing can be made "tick-proof," not only repelling ticks but actually killing them. The clothing treatment is 0.5 percent permethrin (Trade Name: RID which is sold as a bedding spray for "Lice, bedbugs, and house dust mites").
There are compelling reasons for treatment of clothing which you are regularly wearing. There are no safe areas at this time. Ticks are being found everywhere including parking lots, vehicles, and homes having been transported by people or their pets. Obviously woodlands, gardens and fields have many more ticks.
One of the barriers to using tick precautions is the time and effort needed to apply repellents or put on special clothing. Permethrin-treated clothing continues to be effective for several cycles of washing so you don't have to re-spray or put on special clothing.
Permethrin is not simply a repellent, but kills the ticks.
There are four diseases currently which can be acquired from ticks and they all can be serious. Lyme and Anaplasma are the two most common in Vermont at this time, but there are cases of Babesia in Vermont. The Powassan virus has recently been isolated in New Hampshire. All of them can be serious and in a number of cases have caused significant long term disabilities.
Fifty percent of patients with tick borne illness have no history of a tick bite, but a tick bite is the usual way one gets these illnesses; rarely from a blood transfusion.
Please consider tick proofing your clothing.
Walter J. Griffiths, M.D.,
Bellows Falls, June 16
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