Ticked off

Published 8:51 am Monday, June 11, 2018

Summer is peak tick season

Every summer, ticks become a hazard for people in the outdoors, whether they are in the woods of Wayne National Forest or just their own backyard.

“This is the peak time of year for them,” said Brian Elswick, the environmental officer for the Lawrence County Health Department. “The larvae are the most active ones right now.”

He said except for December and January, ticks are active but it peaks in the summer months and then again in October and November.

Email newsletter signup

Elswick said the health department has had a few calls from people concerned about getting Lyme Disease, which is carried by the blacklegged tick.

“People will bring in ticks and we can identify the species,” he said, adding there are a dozen types of ticks in Ohio but most target animals.

The ones that humans and their pets are most likely to encounter are the American dog tick, Blacklegged tick, and the Lone star tick. The Ohio Department of Health says that all three of those species are of significant public health importance and are responsible for nearly all tick-borne diseases reported to the agency.

Elswick said that most common type seems to be the American dog tick, which is more known for carrying Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and the Lone Star tick carries the virus for ehrlichiosis.

“We know we have the Lone Star tick here because I have one in a bag on my desk, someone brought it in to us,” he said. The question was whether the tick could be tested to see if it carried Lyme disease. It can be, but the Ohio Department of Health doesn’t do the testing. But he said that there are private labs that do the testing for under $30.

Elswick said the best way to avoid getting a tick is to use a spray with at least 30 percent DEET in it.

“DEET is a good repellent for ticks,” he said, adding that after you come inside, check for ticks after being in their habitat. “That’s easier said than done. People like to hunt and fish. If you remove a tick as soon as possible, the better it is. The longer they are on your body, the more likely they are to bite you. It isn’t an instantaneous bite. So, you want to be aggressive when checking.”

For information on ticks, visit the Ohio Department of Health’s web page at http://www.odh.ohio.gov/ticks.