Tick Time

By: Jennifer Miller, Disease Prevention Specialist

It’s finally warming up and we’re all looking forward to spending more time outdoors. A reminder though, take the time to protect yourself and your family from tick bites this spring and summer.

  • Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), para- menthane-diol (PMD), or 2-undecanone. Remember … no repellant for children under 2 months old and don’t use OLE or PMD on those under 3 years old.
  • Avoid areas with high grass and leaf litter and walk in the center of trails when hiking.
  • Treat dogs for ticks. They may bring ticks back into your home.
  • Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors to wash off and more easily find crawling ticks before they bite you. Make sure to conduct a full-body tick check.

If you do find a tick attached don’t panic! Use tweezers to grab the tick as close to your skin as possible and pull upward with steady even pressure. Then clean the bite area.

If you develop a rash or fever within several weeks of finding a tick attached make sure to see a doctor and tell them about the bite.

Last year the state of Iowa reported 276 cases of Lyme Disease, 56 of those were in Johnson County residents.  Although that does not mean that the disease was contracted locally, Lyme disease is endemic throughout Iowa. It is not common to get this infection but if you do, prompt antibiotic treatment can make all the difference.