As warmer weather approaches and individuals venture outdoors, El Dorado County health officials are reminding residents to take precautions to protect themselves and their pets from ticks and tick bites.
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“Ticks can carry and transmit diseases to people and pets,” said Dr. Alicia Paris-Pombo, El Dorado County Health officer.
“While not all ticks carry disease, prompt and proper removal of any tick is important,” said Paris-Pombo. “If a tick attaches to the skin, it should be grabbed closest to the skin with tweezers or a tissue, and pulled straight out using a firm and steady motion. Wash your hands and the bite site with soap and warm water after the tick is removed, and apply antiseptic to the bite site. See a doctor if you develop a rash, flu-like symptoms or a fever. Tell your doctor if you have been bitten by a tick.”
Ticks live in wooded areas, brushy fields, long grasses and leaf-litter areas, and are most active during the warmer months (April through September). Tips to avoid tick bites include the following:
• Avoid walking through wooded or brushy areas with tall grass; walk in the center of trails whenever possible.
• Wear long pants and long socks, and apply insect repellent containing DEET when walking through areas where ticks may be present.
• Examine gear and pets after walking.
• Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors to wash off and more easily find ticks that may have crawled on you or your clothing.
• Conduct a full-body tick check upon return from known tick infested areas, and check for up to three days after possible exposure (some ticks may be very small and are hard to see).
• Tumble clothes in a dryer on high heat for an hour to kill remaining ticks.
• Talk to your veterinarian about using tick preventives on your pets.
Additional tips to prevent ticks and diseases transmitted by ticks can be found at cdc.gov/ticks.