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Avoiding Ticks

Apr 24, 2017

Ticks have been a part of the outdoors for as long as there have been people to complain about them.

Ticks are small, blood-sucking parasites related to spiders and mites.  They’re often found in great numbers in areas where animals are abundant.  Ticks will be active in these areas from April through September.  While you can’t avoid ticks entirely, you can take some simple steps to reduce your exposure to ticks.  First, avoid tick infested areas whenever possible.  Second, wear clothes that make it hard for ticks to get to your skin.  Boots can keep them away from your feet.  Clothing that fits tightly around your ankles and wrists is helpful.  Finally, apply repellents to your skin and clothing.  Socks and pant legs are important places to treat.

After you return from the outdoors, make a habit of inspecting your body for ticks.  Do this as soon as possible and be sure to inspect the kids, checking their heads and necks very carefully.  The sooner you find a feeding tick, the better.  There is less chance for infection or disease when you remove a tick promptly.  Remove ticks with tweezers grabbing it as near the head as possible.

Whether you’re headed out mushroom hunting or just for a spring hike, take steps to minimize encounters with these unwelcome summer pests. 

Tick-Bourne Diseases

  • At least six different human tick-borne diseases have been reported in Missouri: Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis, tularemia, Q-fever, lyme or a lyme-like disease, and the southern tick-associated rash illness.
  • Tick-borne diseases are a type of emerging disease, many of them first recognized in the last 30 years.
  • Human case numbers per year for tick-borne diseases are generally on the rise. This upward trend is due to better recognition and disease reporting, but is also a reflection of changes in the environment that fosters increased exposure and transmission to humans.
  • Fortunately, not all ticks are infected, so a tick bite does not necessarily mean you will get a disease. More importantly, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) wants people to know that when they take precautions, they can reduce their chance of being bitten.
  • Reporting disease helps DHSS monitor disease trends, track unusual occurrences or clusters of diseases and identify possible risk factors associated with diseases.

Find out more about tick-bourne disease from the Missouri Department of Health and Human Services.

 

 

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Tick on Leaf
Tick on leaf

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