Here’s a new thing to worry about when doing something outdoors: A Kentucky man is recovering after finding a tick in his eye.
Yes, a small tick attached itself to his eyeball.
Chris Prater told WYMT-TV that he sprayed himself down with insect repellent and took every precaution recently as he prepared to head out to a job in eastern Kentucky untangling a tree from a power line, but there was really no way to prepare for what was about to happen to him.
After finishing his work for the day, Prater noticed his eye was bothering him.
“I noticed I just started having irritation in my eye,” Prater said.
10 PHOTOSHow to avoid tick bitesSee GalleryHow to avoid tick bites
1. Stay in the middle of the path
When hiking, make sure to stay in the middle of the path. Weeds, grass and trees make it easier for ticks to crawl onto you. Don’t venture out to the grass or bushes, where ticks are formidable to be hiding.
2. Wear long pants and closed toed shoes
Protect your skin. Adding an extra layer makes it more difficult to latch on to you. It’s smart to wear pants, long sleeves and hats, especially in the summer.
3. Invest in deer-resistant plants.
Since ticks feed on and are transported by deer, try looking into deer-resistant plants. French marigolds, rosemary, mint and crape myrtle are just some of the greens deer tend to "overlook".
See a complete list of the herbs and flowers here.
4. Check your dog!
Dogs can literally bring ticks right to your front door. Prevent ticks by keeping their coats short in the summer. Use your hands to check the fur, stopping if you feel a pea-sized bump. Favorite spots ticks like to hide include the ears, toes and under the tail.
Dog ticks don’t "harbor diseases that sicken people", but you should still be wary.
5. Yes, repellant can help.
According to TickenEncounter, spray with DEET does not provide "sufficient" protection. Get spray for your clothes like Permethrin, which instantly kills ticks.
6. Dry your clothes
The CDC recommends tumble drying clothes immediately for ten minutes after you’ve been outside. Ticks can easily "dry out" with high heat, but you should make sure the clothes are completely dry.
Warning: Ticks can survive the wash.
7. Tuck your pants into your socks.
This covers the small, easily accessible space in between your pants and ankles. Especially if you are sitting, it makes it easier for ticks to latch on.
8. Stay in the sun.
Since ticks survive in shady, humid environments, researchers agree that staying in the sun lowers the risk for ticks. According to LiveScience, ticks "can’t survive" in places with lower than 80% humidity.
9. Invest in Permethrin socks
The chemical is successful in protecting against ticks, mosquitoes and other types of bites. Lymedisease.org estimates that permethrin-treated footwear offered 74 times the protection from bites.
10. Mow your lawn
Cut your grass, clean your yard, get rid of any extra firewood or wood chips.
He flushed his eye out several times and had a co-worker take a look, yet a spot he noticed didn’t move. He was hesitant to go to a doctor, and kept hoping the irritation would flush itself out, but finally made an appointment with an optometrist.
“When the doctor finally comes in, he was looking at it. He said, ‘I know what’s in your eye.'”
Prater was stunned to find out what the irritation was.
“He said, ‘It’s a tick.’ That’s when I got scared a little bit,” Prater said. “I leaned around and looked at him and I asked him if he was joking and he said, ‘No, you have a deer tick or some type of tick.’ It was very little.”
10 PHOTOSSymptoms of lyme diseaseSee GallerySymptoms of lyme diseaseThe pathognomonic erythematous rash in the pattern of a bullseye, which manifested at the site of a tick bite on a woman’s posterior right upper arm.FatigueKnee painHeadacheFeverNeck pain Night sweatsJoint painDifficulty sleepingChillsUp Next
Prater said the doctor numbed his eye and removed the bug with a pair of tweezers.
“Once he grabbed ahold of it and pulled it off, the tick made a, like, a little popping sound when it came off of my eye,” Prater said.
Tick infestation in eyes is incredibly rare, and most cases are on the eyelids, not the actual eyeball, like this reported case of a woman in the UK who found a tick on her lower eyelid after a camping trip.
Prater was sent home with antibiotics and steroid drops and should suffer no last damage.
He reminded kids to use bug spray, even though it wouldn’t have helped his situation.
“You get a lot of kids hiking, camping, I just urge them to spray,” Prater said, noting, “but you can’t spray your eyes.”
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