NEWARK – The wet and warm weather recently has led to early encounters with ticks in yards and parks around the county. Ticks can carry diseases that can pose serious health risks to humans including Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Lyme Disease.
Contrary to popular belief, ticks do not jump, fly or fall out of trees. They wait on low growing plants for a host to pass by. When a person or animal brushes against the vegetation, the tick will cling to fur or clothing and crawl upward, looking for a place to attach and begin feeding. The risk of exposure to ticks and disease can be reduced by following these precautions:
• Avoid tick-infested areas such as tall grass and dense vegetation.
• Tuck your pants into sock tops or boots.
• Wear light-colored clothing to make it easier to find crawling ticks.
• Use repellants and follow label instructions carefully.
• Check yourself, your children and pets frequently for ticks.
• Bathe or shower after exposure to tick habitat (preferably within two hours) to wash off and more easily find ticks that may be crawling on you.
• Dogs are also at risk for tick-borne diseases and they may carry infected ticks into the home. Infected dogs are not contagious to humans.
• Keep yard and outdoor play areas well mowed to discourage tick infestation.
• Treatments are available to control ticks on dogs. Consult your veterinarian and always follow label instructions.
For more information call the Licking County Health Department at (740) 349-6535 or visit www.lickingcohealth.org.