Ohio health officials warn about tick bites as temperatures rise


(WDTN) — Spring is in full swing, with summer just around the corner.

Ohio health officials have a warning for people who will be spending more time outside in the warmer weather.

The Ohio Department of Health says people should take precautions to prevent tick bites and the diseases they may carry.

“Diseases spread by ticks are an increasing concern in Ohio,” said ODH Director Amy Acton, MD, MPH. “The best way to prevent tickborne diseases is to prevent tick bites by taking simple precautions at home and when working or playing in wooded or brushy areas from early spring to late fall.”

Health officials recommend people who get sick after being bitten by a tick contact their healthcare provider. This is especially true if you suffer symptoms like a fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, joint pain, muscle aches, fatigue or a rash.

According to health officials, most diseases in Ohio that are caused by tick bites happen between spring and late fall, when ticks are most active. However, ODH says the blacklegged ticks that can transmit Lyme disease are active most of the year.

The most common diseases spread by ticks in Ohio include Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. There were 293 Lyme disease cases and 38 Rocky Mountain spotted fever cases reported in Ohio last year.

To avoid tick bites:

– Walk in the middle of trails. Avoid tall grass, brush and leaf litter.
– Use EPA-registered repellents labelled for use against ticks on skin. Always follow the label instructions. EPA-registered repellents are safe and effective, even for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
– Treat clothing and gear such as pants, boots, socks and tents with a product containing permethrin, or buy permethrin-treated clothing and gear. Do not apply permethrin directly to skin.
– Wear long pants, long sleeves and long socks. Tuck pant legs into socks.
– Wear light colors to make it easier to see ticks.

If you find a tick on yourself, your children or a pet, do the following:

– Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.
– Pull it away from your skin with steady, even pressure.
– Do not twist or jerk the tick which can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth-parts easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.
– Do not use petroleum jelly, a hot match, nail polish or any other “folk” remedies to remove a tick as
these methods do not work.

To dispose of a live tick:

– Dispose of a live tick by putting it in alcohol

– place it in a sealed bag/container

– wrap it tightly in tape

– flush it down the toilet

– never crush a tick with your fingers.

– Wash your hands and the bite area with soap and water.

Additional information and resources are available on the ODH website at “Ohio.gov/tick.”

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