Spring means warmer weather, longer days, and the unwelcome return of ticks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says infections from tick-borne diseases are steadily increasing.
These tiny, biting creatures feed on warm-blooded animals, including people, and can transmit serious illness through their bites. Those illnesses include infections, skin rashes, and Lyme disease. Lyme disease symptoms usually appear one to two weeks after a bite and include:
- “Bull’s-eye” rash (erythema migrans)
- Muscle and joint pain
Ticks usually live on tall grass and in wooded areas, but they can enter your home on pets or clothing. While it’s a good idea to take precautions year-round, you should be cautious during warmer months when ticks are most active. The CDC offers these tips to help you avoid tick bites while working or playing outside:
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and tuck your pants into your socks.
- Avoid sitting on the ground.
- Remove and inspect your clothing after leaving a possible tick-infested area.
- Put clothes in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks on your clothing.
- Shower within two hours of leaving a tick-prone area to wash off ticks that may be crawling on you.
- Conduct a full-body inspection of yourself, your children and your pets.