Hoosiers Urged to Protect Themselves from Ticks this Spring

6-13-14 Ticks picThe Indiana State Department of Health is urging residents to protect themselves against ticks before heading outdoors this spring. Health officials say the small, insect-like creatures are found in grassy and wooded areas throughout the state. They can carry a variety of infectious diseases like Lyme disease.

State Public Health Veterinarian Jennifer Brown says ticks become active as soon as the weather starts warming up, and any tick might be carrying a disease. That’s why it’s important to start getting prepared.

If you’ll be heading into a grassy or wooded area, the State Department of Health recommends that you wear a long-sleeved shirt and light-colored pants. For the best protection, tuck in your shirt, and tuck your pants into your socks. Health officials also recommend using EPA-registered insect repellents.

Once indoors, you should check for ticks on your clothing and skin. If you find one, the State Department of Health recommends removing it with tweezers and then washing the area. Health officials say never crush a tick with your fingernails. They say it’s important to remove ticks as soon as possible, since they usually need to be attached for several hours before they can spread disease. If someone does get sick after finding a tick, he or she should seek medical attention immediately.

The State Department of Health says almost 200 cases of tick-borne diseases were reported last year. All of the diseases can be treated with antibiotics, but catching them early can help prevent complications.