DuPage County health officials offer some tips about ticks

stock photo of a tick on a plant
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Cicadas may be all the buzz this season, but the DuPage County Health Department (DCHD)  is reminding residents about another pest to look out for: ticks.

Though ticks are around all year, they become more active from April to September, according to a press release from the DCHD. They like to spend their time in grassy, wooded, brush-filled areas, as well as on animals.

Take some time to check for ticks if you’ve been outdoors, health officials say

The bugs may be small, but can carry a big impact, capable of spreading diseases like Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Lyme disease. Symptoms of tick-borne diseases can include fever, headaches, rashes, and flu-like illness.

The DCHD says if you spend time outdoors, you should take some time once back indoors to do a scan on yourself, your kids, and your pets for any ticks. A thorough check is required, including under arms, behind knees, inside and around ears, along the hairline and scalp, within the belly button, and around your waist.

What to do if you find a tick on a person or a pet

If a tick is found, it should be removed as soon as possible. To do so, health officials say to use fine-tipped, clean tweezers. Then grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible and pull upward with a “steady even pressure.”

Once you’ve removed the tick, clean the bite area and your hands with either soap and water or rubbing alcohol. The tweezers should also be cleaned with alcohol.

As for the tick itself – once it’s removed, dispose of it by either putting it in alcohol, putting it in a sealed container, wrapping it in tape, or flushing it down the toilet.

Those who come down with a rash or fever within a few weeks of removing a tick should call a doctor and seek medical attention.

Pets that have ticks should be treated as recommended by a veterinarian.

How to steer clear of ticks

Health officials say it’s smart to anticipate where to expect ticks, use EPA-registered insect repellant, treat clothing and any other outside gear with permethrin, and shower once you come in if you’ve been outdoors.

The DCHD offers tick removal kits for residents at health department locations. Those interested in more information call the health department at 630-682-7400.-

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