Summer has arrived! And while the sun is out, sadly so are ticks. But we’ve gathered some useful info to help you prevent tick bites, and even Lyme disease this summer.
Because summer months bring about ticks, Lyme disease is most prevalent during this warmer season. It’s caused by bacteria that some species of ticks carry and transmit through their bite. Lyme disease is on the rise in Ohio with more than 270 reported cases in 2017 alone, according to the Ohio Department of Health.
Once bitten by an infected tick, symptoms of Lyme disease typically include fever, headache, neck stiffness, joint pain, facial palsy, heart palpitations, dizziness, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash. These symptoms can appear days to months after a tick bite.
While Lyme disease can be treated with antibiotics, it can be an arduous, debilitating disease. The best way to beat Lyme disease is to prevent tick bites altogether.
To prevent tick bites when in areas prone to ticks, you should:
- Wear light-colored clothes including shirts with long sleeves with the hem tucked into your pants and long pants tucked into your socks or boots.
- Stay on the trail! Avoid high weeds or grass by walking in the center of the path.
- Apply a tick repellent according to label instructions.
- Do frequent tick checks of your body while outside and a thorough inspection at shower time.
- Protect your pets with an anti-tick product recommended by a veterinarian.
- Keep dogs on a leash and avoid weeds.
If you find a tick attached:
- Do not crush or puncture it.
- Grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible using pointy tweezers, a tick removal tool, or your finger and thumb. Pull straight up and out with steady, even pressure.
- Thoroughly wash the bite site, your hands and the tweezers with warm soap and water.
- Place the tick in a container with rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer. Record the day the tick was likely to have attached.
- Take the specimen with you to a healthcare professional if you develop flu-like symptoms, a rash, or anything that is unusual for you.
To help Ohioans learn more about ticks and how to keep people and pets safe, OSU has developed a webinar and website with information about tick biology, tick identification, and tickborne diseases. The site can be accessed here.