Summer safety: protect against ticks, June 25

OHA report – Ticks can be so tiny, especially in the larva stage, that you may not notice when they attach to your body. In most cases, a tick carrying infectious disease bacteria must be attached for more than 24 hours before the bacteria infects the person. The most common disease spread by ticks in Oregon is Lyme disease, with about 60-80 human cases per year. It can spread almost any time of year as ticks mature through their life stages, but most significantly during spring and fall. (Track Lyme disease in Oregon on this Weekly Communicable Disease Report. Lyme disease is transmitted across the United States. In the western part of the country, it is spread by the western black-legged tick, which can carry and spread other diseases to humans as well. Other important ticks are the American Dog Tick, which spreads Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia, and the Rocky Mountain Wood tick, which also spreads Rocky Mountain spotted fever as well as Colorado tick fever. Both species are found east of the Cascades and in Southern Oregon. Learn more about Oregon’s ticks and the diseases they spread on our website. Tips for protecting yourself from tickborne illness: If you find a tick on you, remove it immediately with some fine-tipped tweezers, grasping the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible. Clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol or soap and water. Use the CDC’s Tick Bite Bot tool to guide you through removing ticks and, if necessary, seeking medical attention. Never crush a tick with your fingers. Dispose of a live tick by putting it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag/container, wrapping it tightly in tape, or flushing it down the toilet. Wear long sleeves, pants and close-toed shoes when outdoors. Wear insect repellant that contains permethrin (applied to clothing or gear) or DEET. Wear light colored clothing to make ticks easier to spot. Learn more on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website. For Oregon data on Lyme disease and other communicable diseases going back 10 years, check out our Monthly Communicable Disease Surveillance Report.

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