Take steps to minimize contact with ticks when outdoors

Press Staff Writer

        Outdoor enthusiasts are encouraged to be cautious and take steps to minimize contact with Ohio’s tick species this summer, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.
        Ticks are found throughout Ohio and sometimes carry potentially dangerous diseases.
        When spending time outside, take precautions to prevent a tick from becoming attached to the skin. Treat outdoor clothing with permethrin-based repellents according to the label directions. Tuck pants into socks or boots and shirts into pants to keep ticks on the outside of clothing. It may help to wear light-colored clothing, which will make it easier to spot ticks. Thoroughly check clothes and skin for any attached ticks after any outdoor excursion, and don’t forget to check pets and gear, too.
        Any attached ticks should be removed as quickly as possible to reduce the risk of contracting tick-borne diseases. To remove a tick, use tweezers or gloved hands. Grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible and pull straight out with steady, even pressure.
        Ohio has three medically important species of tick: the American dog tick, blacklegged tick and lone star tick. All three species have the potential to transmit diseases to humans and pets. The highest risk for contracting tick-borne disease occurs from June through August, but Lyme disease is possible year-round.
        The American dog tick is the most common tick in Ohio and is found in grassy areas. It is most active during the summer months and is the primary transmitter of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Blacklegged tick populations have increased in Ohio since 2010, especially in forested areas. This species is active throughout the year, including winter, and can carry Lyme disease. The blacklegged tick is also known as the deer tick because it is frequently found on white-tailed deer. Lone star ticks are mostly found in southern Ohio in shaded, grassy areas and are active during the warmer months. This species can also transmit several diseases.
        More information on these and other tick species, and photos to help identification, are found on the Ohio Department of Health webpage. To learn more about tick-borne diseases and their symptoms, visit cdc.gov/ticks.              Ticks can transmit disease within 36 to 48 hours after the initial bite. It is important to regularly check for ticks and remove them as quickly as possible. Outdoor recreation increases the chance of encountering ticks. Urban and suburban development also increases the risk as people are close to mice, white-tailed deer, and other hosts for ticks. Pets in an outdoor setting should have tick control.
        It is important to note that, unlike humans and pets, wild animals such as deer are not affected by the blacklegged tick and suffer no ill effects from Lyme disease. Hunters should remember that hunting and dressing deer may bring them into close contact with infected ticks. Lyme disease cannot be transmitted by the consumption of venison.
        The mission of the Division of Wildlife is to conserve and improve fish and wildlife resources and their habitats for sustainable use and appreciation by all. Visit wildohio.gov to find out more.


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