Residents of Clark County have reported a slight increase in the number of ticks to the Clark County Combined Health District this year, however most individuals who find ticks on family members or pets do not make a report. Recently one of our readers noted an increase in the number of ticks that they have found this year after making a visit to local parks and the C. J. Brown Reservoir.
Ticks are a member of the arachnid family and attach to the skin of animals and humans so that they can feed on blood. This is necessary if they are to move on to the next stage of their development. According to information provided by the Health District, our area is home to the Brown dog tick, Blacklegged tick, American dog tick and the Lone Star tick. This is only four of the 800 varieties.
Brown dog ticks are found around homes in our area. They are capable of spending their life cycle indoors and can complete the cycle in only three months. They can spread Rocky Mountain spotted fever to dogs and in some cases to their human owners.
The Blacklegged tick is also known as the Deer tick. They are most often found out in the woods. This is the tick that is known for the spread of Lyme disease. They were most common on the east coast, but have been spreading in Ohio. They are most active from October to May.
If you are off for a hike in the tall grass of a field or along trails, you may encounter the American dog tick. They use mice, deer and other animals along with humans and our pets as a host. They are active from April until early August. They also transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
The Lone star tick doesn’t reside only in Texas as the name would imply. They can be found in forests and dense undergrowth in our area. They also carry Rocky Mountain spotted fever and are commonly found on humans. They are active from April until late August and enjoy feeding on large animals including our beloved dogs.
You should always check your children and pets after a walk in the woods or even a trip to the ball park for a game. Adults should use the partner system and check each other carefully. If you find a tick, it is important to remove them correctly rather than relying on old wives tales.
If it is attached, remove it as soon as possible to reduce infection risks. Cover your fingers with a paper towel or use tweezers to remove the tick. You should grip the tick close to the skin and steadily pull straight up and out. Try to avoid crushing the tick during removal.
The Health District instructions are clear not to use a match, alcohol, nail polish or other products to remove the tick. This could actually cause the tick to “vomit” which increases the risk for transmission to the human or animal.
Once the tick has been removed, the area should be washed and disinfected where the bite occurred. You should also wash your hands with soap and water to prevent any infection.
You can learn more about ticks and their life cycles by visiting the Health District at www.ccchd.com. Call them for assistance or questions regarding encounters with ticks at 390-5600. The web site has full color photos to help you identify which tick may have hitched a ride home with you or your pet. You can also find additional information on tickborne diseases including symptoms to watch for.