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PHD warns 'tis the season for ticks

| June 12, 2022 1:00 AM

Of the many different tick species found throughout the world, only a select few bite and transmit disease to people. Unfortunately, North Idaho is one of the areas where some of those ‘select few’ ticks reside.

Panhandle Health District has recently seen an increase in tick-related calls, reports of bites, and tick-related illness. As the weather improves and many are venturing outdoors to enjoy it, PHD would like to encourage the public to take proper precautions when it comes to encountering ticks. Bites from ticks can be avoided by using simple prevention strategies:

  • When recreating outdoors use insect repellents like DEET or other EPA approved repellents
  • Speak to your veterinarian about tick prevention products for your dog
  • Reduce tick habitats in your yard. Ticks typically like to live in tall grass, brush, and wooded areas.
  • Although ticks are most active in the spring and summer an encounter can happen year-round.

"Ticks can cause a high level of disease in north Idaho; they carry many different types of bacteria, viruses, and protozoans that can cause serious infections,” said Malia Nogle, Epidemiologist for PHD. “These infections include Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Tick Paralysis, Tularemia, and Lyme Disease.”

Of the ticks that bite people, different species of ticks transmit different diseases. If you have received a bite from a tick or other pest, please be on the lookout for symptoms such as:

  • Fever
  • headache
  • rashes
  • fatigue, and
  • flu-like illness

After you do venture into the outdoors, it is important to check yourself and others for any ticks that might still be attached to your clothing or skin.

If there is a tick attached to your body, carefully remove the tick by grasping it with fine-tipped tweezers as close as possible to your skin, then apply a steady, gentle pull until it releases. Do not try to get the tick to release from your body by using fire/flames or chemicals.

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