Tick season is here! How to prevent tick bites - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Tick season is here! How to prevent tick bites

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MOBILE USERS, click here to see slideshow photos: http://tinyurl.com/m5koe46

In the last week we've told you about a dog nearly killed by tick paralysis and a child whose mother posted a shocking video to Facebook that went viral showing her little girl also suffering from tick paralysis.

With warm weather on its way to eastern Washington, residents should expect the number of ticks to rise but there are some simple precautions you can take to avoid being bitten this spring, summer and early fall.

Preventing tick bites:

  • Avoid spending time in wooded areas with high grass and leaf litter, and stay on trails whenever possible.
  • Wear light-colored clothing with long sleeves and long pants; the light coloring will make ticks easier to see.
  • Use a tick repellant containing at least 20% DEET to protect exposed skin. Products containing permethrin can be used to treat clothing, footwear and gear.
  • When returning from outdoor activities, carefully examine people, pets and the indoor environment for ticks.
  • Thoroughly check your dog for ticks, including between its toes. Run your fingers through its fur to help detect any bumps that might be ticks.
  • Ask a veterinarian about the best ways to protect your pets and your environment from ticks.

What to do if a tick is already attached to you or your pet:

  • Remove tick as quickly as possible. 
  • Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin surface as possible and pull upward with steady, even pressure.
  • Avoid removing the tick with bare hands.
  • Don't twist or jerk the tick, which may cause the mouth parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the parts with tweezers if possible.
  • After removing the tick, disinfect the area and wash your hands.
  • Note the date that you found the tick attached to you in case you get sick.
  • If you develop a fever, rash, or aches and pains within a month, let your health care provider know that you were bitten by a tick. This information may help your provider diagnose your illness.

The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) invites people from all over the state to send ticks to the agency for a project to learn more about what types of ticks live in our state. Click here for more about sending ticks to DOH.

For more information, check out SRHD's Ticks and Tick-Borne Diseases flyer.

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