Experts are predicting that this year ticks will be abundant, and as some of them carry Lyme disease it’s important to avoid them.
“The most common way that you’ll pick up a tick is when you’re walking through grass, especially grass that’s knee or ankle high,” said Invertebrate Ecologist with the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, Andres Ortega. “And so if you brush against that grass, ticks will be clinging on to it and then as you brush them they will let go of the grass and cling on to you.”
When walking in a wooded or grassy area, stick to the center of the trail.
“If you do walk off trail or if you have to walk in the grass, wear pants, wear long socks, wear high top boots, anything that can physically protect your leg,” said Ortega.
And if you do find a tick attached to you, make sure to carefully remove it with a pair of tweezers or forceps.
“What you want to do is gently but firmly grab the tick as close to the skin as you can with the tweezers and pull straight out,” explained Ortega. “You don’t want to twist, you don’t want to turn, and you don’t want to yank it out because when you do that you risk removing the mouthparts, breaking them off inside you. And then those can lead to a secondary infection at that site, if you have the mouthparts left inside of you.”
If a tick is found on you, but it has not yet attached, your risk for infection or disease is very low.
“The greatest risk is after the tick has been attached and starts feeding, which usually happens after 24 to 48 hours. So if you just find the tick crawling on you or even if it’s attached, but has only been attached for a short period of time, you likely are at very low risk for infection,” said Ortega.
This year experts are also warning that deer ticks may be carrying Powassan, which can cause severe flu-like symptoms.
While ticks can be dangerous for humans, they are a source of food for many small mammals and birds.
Naperville News 17’s Evan Summers reports.