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How to avoid ticks and the serious problems they bring

Posted at 6:44 PM, Jun 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-18 18:44:59-04

INDIANAPOLIS — The warmer weather means new threats when you head outside — tick season is here. The little critters can carry diseases that cause lifelong problems.

In the past several years there's been an increase in the number of ticks here in central Indiana and health officials are warning people before they go outside they need to prepare themselves to stay safe.

Ticks live in wooded areas and even the grass in your backyard. Health officials say one of the most straightforward precautions is using insect repellent with at least 25 percent deet.

There are three different kinds of ticks you may encounter in Indiana, but the deer tick in the one that carries to a most common disease — Lyme disease.

Lyme disease symptoms start like the flu and a rash and can be treated with antibiotics if it's caught early.

Mary Kay Foster is the special pathogens program manager at Indiana University. Foster says if the disease is not caught in time, it can have long term impacts.

"Anywhere from tremors, severe headaches, a lot of neurological issues. Arthritis is another common one with Lyme's disease. Joint paint," Foster said. "People can die from it, especially if it gets into the lining of the brain."

And it's not just you the ticks are interested in. Keep an eye on your pets.

Talk to your vet about collars and medicines that help prevent ticks from latching on.

More CDC recommendations on how to avoid tick bites:

  • Treat clothing and gear with products containing a half-a-percent of permethrin. This can be used to treat boots, clothing and camping gear and remain protective through several washings.
  • If you have to go into the woods, walk in the center of trails.
  • Check your clothing for ticks.
  • Shower soon after being outdoors.
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