Spring brings an opportunity to spend more time outdoors but also increases our exposure to tick bites and infection from some of the diseases that ticks carry. Taking some precautions to reduce risks of exposure and infection from ticks can make your outdoor activities more safe and enjoyable. Ticks can be found in almost any location that has animals and vegetation, so completely avoiding ticks is very difficult. But there are some practices that will help you prevent ticks from biting and passing disease organisms to you.
Here are several suggestions:
If you find a tick attached, remove it by using tweezers or a tick removal tool to grasp it as near to the skin as possible and pulling straight out. DO NOT use hot match heads or needles, nail polish, gasoline or similar techniques. Ticks that are removed shortly after they attach may not have the opportunity to pass disease organisms to you, so quick detection and removal are good prevention methods.
If you experience a rash, fever, chills, aching or other unusual symptoms after a tick bite or exposure to tick-infested areas, see your physician immediately. Most tick-borne diseases can be effectively treated with early detection.
Enjoy the outdoors by taking precautions to reduce your risks.
Purdue has an informational webpage on ticks at Purdue Medical Entomology.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has an information site on ticks and tick diseases.
Lenny Farlee, Sustaining Hardwood Extension Specialist
Hardwood Tree Improvement and Regeneration Center (HTIRC)
Forestry and Natural Resources, Purdue University