Did you know that ticks can carry and spread disease? Using a method called “questing,” ticks hang out on tall grass and wooded areas and grab onto passersby as they brush up against them. That’s right, they do not jump or fly!
Ticks are very small – many people do not notice when one finds its way onto you or your pet! Although they are tiny, they can carry and spread diseases that are easily preventable.
The most common diseases in Oklahoma that ticks spread are Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Ehrlichiosis, both of which can cause fever, nausea, headache, and rashes. If left untreated, these can be very serious. According to the CDC, rates of these illnesses continue to rise throughout the United States. Protect yourself this summer by being diligent, here are some great ways to protect yourself from ticks this season:
Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents, such as those containing DEET or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE). This helpful tool from the EPA can help you find the insect repellant that is best for you and your family.
Treat clothing with products containing 0.5% permethrin. Permethrin can last throughout several washes and can be used on clothing, boots, backpacks, and other hiking gear.
Ensure that you are walking on paved trails, being sure to avoid tall grass and brushy areas where ticks may be lurking.
After being outside, be sure to carefully check yourself and your pet(s) for ticks. Ticks can hitch a ride into your home on your clothing, gear, body or your pets. Be mindful to check in crevices, such as under the armpits, behind the ears, and in between the legs where ticks may be hiding out.
If you are going camping, hiking, gardening, or playing outdoor sports this summer, visit our Tick page to find out more about tick-borne diseases and how to protect yourself so you can continue to have fun in the sun.
To speak with a Tulsa Health Department epidemiologist about tick-borne diseases, please call 918-595-4399.