Warm weather is finally here to stay, and that brings an increased risk of diseases spread by ticks and mosquitoes.
“You can take some simple precautions at home and when traveling to prevent potentially serious diseases caused by the bite of infected ticks and mosquitos,” said Clint Koenig, medical director at the Ohio Department of Health.
If you experience symptoms such as fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, joint pain, muscle aches, fatigue, or a rash, he recommends you contact a health care provider.
There were 270 Lyme disease cases and 34 Rocky Mountain spotted fever cases reported in Ohio last year. There were 34 West Nile virus cases including five deaths, and 13 La Crosse virus cases reported in Ohio last year.
Here are some tips to avoid tick bites:
• Walk in the middle of trails. Avoid tall grass, brush, and leaf litter.
• Use Environmental Protection Agency-registered repellents labelled for use against ticks on skin. Always follow the label instructions.
• 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.
• Check yourself, your children, and pets thoroughly for ticks after spending time in areas that may contain them.
• If you find a tick attached to your body, 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. Dispose of a live tick by putting it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag or container, wrapping it tightly in tape, or flushing it down the toilet. Never crush a tick with your fingers. Wash your hands and the bite area with soap and water.
Mosquitoes can live indoors and outdoors, and some types bite during the day while others bite at dusk and dawn. Here are some tips to avoid mosquito bites:
• Use EPA-registered repellents according to label instructions.
• Wear long sleeves, long pants, and long socks when outdoors.
• Mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing, so spraying clothes with an EPA-registered repellent will give extra protection.
• Treat clothing and gear such as pants, boots, socks, and tents with a product containing permethrin, or buy permethrin-treated clothing or gear. Do not apply permethrin directly to skin.