The Lake County Health Department and Community Health Center urges residents to take precautions against ticks, which can carry several diseases, including Lyme disease.
“In 2018, over 35 percent of deer ticks submitted for testing by the Health Department carried the bacteria that causes Lyme disease,” said Michael Adam, senior biologist for the Health Department. “As people spend time outdoors they need to protect themselves, their families and pets against ticks and the diseases they can carry.”
Ticks live in and near wooded areas, tall grass and brush. If infected, ticks can transmit diseases including Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Southern Tick Associated Rash Illness (STARI), tularemia and others when they bite humans or animals.
Protect yourself, your family and pets against tick-borne illnesses. Take precautions to avoid tick bites:
- Avoid wooded and brushy areas with high grass and leaf litter. Walk in the center of trails so plants do not brush against you.
- Wear light-colored protective clothing, such as long-sleeved shirts, pants, closed-toe boots or shoes, and a head covering or hat. Tuck long pants into your socks and tuck in your shirt.
- Apply insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, or IR3535 to exposed skin (except the face). Use products that contain permethrin on clothing. Always follow product instructions carefully.
- Check yourself, your children and pets, and outdoor gear often for ticks.
- Reduce tick habitats around your home by clearing leaf litter, mowing grass, cutting back weeds, and keeping the ground clean under bird feeders.
If you are bitten by a tick, promptly and properly remove it:
- Using fine-tipped tweezers, grasp the tick near the skin and pull upward with slow, even pressure. Do NOT twist or jerk.
- Do NOT burn the tick or smother it with oils or petroleum jelly, as this may cause the tick to spit up infected saliva into your skin.
- Once the tick is removed, disinfect the bite area and wash hands with soap and water.
- Make a note of the date you were bitten in case you need medical care later.
Anyone who experiences a rash, fatigue, aches, fever or any unexplained illness following a tick bite should consult a health care provider. If left untreated, some tick-borne diseases can cause serious illnesses and may be fatal.
For more information and to watch a short video on how to properly remove a tick, visit: www.fightthebitenow.com.