Tick Season Awareness - May 2019
Exposure to ticks can happen at any time of the year, but ticks are most active during the warmer months - from April to September. Now is the time to educate yourself and your loved ones about the risk of contact with ticks.
Ticks are generally found near the ground, in brushy or wooded areas. They will climb onto a host and find a site to attach to the person's or animal's skin. Once a tick is attached to the skin, it will slowly suck the blood. If the tick contains a pathogen, it may be transferred into the host person or animal and make them sick.
Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne disease in New Jersey. In 2018, there were 185 state-confirmed Lyme disease cases in Sussex County. Other diseases caused by ticks include Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Untreated, these diseases can cause a wide variety of symptoms:
- Skin rash
- Erythema migrans (EM) rash - specific to Lyme disease; also known as the "bull's-eye"
- Tiredness or dizziness
- Fever or chills
- Headache, muscle aches, joint pain, stiff neck
- Wear clothing that covers the arms and legs and tuck pants into socks so ticks cannot come in contact with the skin. Wearing light-colored clothing can help to see if a tick is on the body.
- Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents. Treat clothing, boots, socks and tents with products containing 0.5% permethrin. The EPA's repellent search can help you find the right product for your needs.
- Treat dogs and cats for ticks based on recommendations by a veterinarian.
- Check for ticks every day. Look under the arms, on the back, around the ears and waist, in the belly button, behind the knees, between the legs and on the hairline and scalp.
- Shower soon after being outdoors.
- Avoid tick-infested areas.
- Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick. Try to get as close to the skin's surface as possible. The key is to remove the tick as soon as possible.
- Pull upward and don't twist or jerk the tick - parts of the tick can break off and stay in the skin.
- After removal, clean the bite area and hands with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
For more information about ticks, see Tick Talk and visit www.cdc.gov/ticks and for information about Lyme disease, visit https://www.state.nj.us/health/cd/topics/lyme.shtml .