As temps warm over Northeast Ohio, the Ohio Department of Health and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources are reminding Ohioans that ticks are waking up and people need to take the necessary precautions to prevent tick bites which can carry diseases such as Lyme disease.
Cases of Lyme disease in Ohio have steadily increased over the last five years. Lyme disease is a bacterial disease transmitted to humans via the bite of an infected deer tick. Symptoms can include a flu-like illness, muscle pain, and headache; a bulls-eye shaped rash is often also seen at the site of the bite as well.
Here are some tips on how to reduce your chances of being bitten:
- Tuck pants cuffs into boots or socks and tuck your shirt into your pants.
- Apply insect repellent.
- Shower immediately after returning from the outdoors to remove unattached ticks.
- Remove ticks promptly by grasping it with tweezers, as close to the skin as possible, and pulling it straight out. Do not twist or jerk.
- Inspect pets for ticks every day.
- Keep grass and weeds mowed short.
- When possible, walk in the center of trails and paths to avoid brushing up against ticks.
- Reduce mouse populations by habitat reduction and exclusion from and to buildings.
Lyme disease can be treated successfully with appropriate antibiotic therapy if detected at an early stage. There are currently no vaccines to prevent tickborne diseases.