The Highland County Health Department would like to bring awareness to tick disease prevention as fall and fall activities begin.
If you plan to be outside doing fall yard work, hunting, walking through the woods or playing in the leaves, it is important to take steps to prevent tick bites.
Sarah Cooper, director of nursing at the health department, said, “The best way to stay safe is to cover up, wear a long sleeve shirt and pants tucked into your socks, use an insect repellent with a 20-percent or higher concentration of DEET, check yourself every couple of hours while out, keep wood piles in sunny areas and do your best to tick proof your yard by clearing brush and leaves.”
Two of the most common tick-borne illnesses reported around the Highland County area are Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Both of these illnesses are characterized by flu-like symptoms and a rash.
Lyme disease’s rash has a bulls-eye appearance, whereas Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever’s rash is a general rash that can appear in various places on the body.
If you find a tick on your body, make sure you remove it in the correct way. Using tweezers, grasp the tick near its head. Do not crush or burn the tick, but carefully pull it off of the affected area in a steady motion. Do not use peppermint oil or other substances to try and remove the tick, as it could aggravate it and cause it to release more saliva into the bloodstream. This could also cause the tick to burrow deeper into the skin.
If you have been bitten by a tick and begin to feel flu-like symptoms or notice a rash, contact your doctor. Everyone is susceptible to Lyme Disease, and it is possible to get it more than one time.
Don’t forget about your pets, as they are also at risk for tick borne illnesses. Check them often, especially if they have spent any length of time outdoors.
For more information, call the health department at 937-393-1941, visit its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/highlandcountyhealth, or its website, www.highlandcountyhealth.org.
This article was submitted by the Highland County Health Department.