Ticks are always an issue during the summer months, but with their populations expected to be unusually high this season, they will be a major concern for those spending time outdoors. Of greatest concern is the blacklegged deer tick, found in the Northeastern U.S., from Virginia to Maine, in the north central states, mostly Wisconsin and Minnesota, and on the west coast, primarily in northern California.
Blacklegged deer ticks can transmit Lyme disease to humans, as well as pets. The CDC describes the symptoms of Lyme disease as fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans, which forms in the shape of a bull’s eye. According to the CDC, Lyme disease can also affect joints, the heart and the nervous system if left untreated.
Wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts and closed-toe shoes when outdoors, especially in wooded areas or tall grasses.
Wear light colored clothing, which makes it easier to spot ticks and other insects.
Wear a bug spray containing at least 20% DEET when outdoors, and reapply as directed on the label.
When hiking, stay in the center of trails, away from vegetation.
Keep your own yard tick-free by cutting grass low and remove weeds, woodpiles and debris.
Inspect yourself and your family members carefully for ticks after being outdoors.