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IDPH: Look out for tick bites this summer

IDPH says tick bites can cause diseases like Lyme disease, spotted fever group rickettsiosis,...
IDPH says tick bites can cause diseases like Lyme disease, spotted fever group rickettsiosis, tularemia, ehrlichiosis, and babesiosis.(MGN)
Published: Jun. 15, 2022 at 3:53 PM CDT
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ILLINOIS (KFVS) - The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is warning the public to keep on the lookout for tick bites this summer.

IDPH says tick bites can cause diseases like Lyme disease, spotted fever group rickettsiosis, tularemia, ehrlichiosis, and babesiosis.

To avoid tick bites, people should conduct a thorough tick-check for themselves, their children and their pets after spending time in areas where ticks are known to inhabit.

According to IDPH, this includes in and near wooded areas, tall grass, and brush. Removing ticks within a 24-hour period reduces the risk of potential disease transmission.

In an agreement with the Illinois Natural History Survey Medical Entomology Laboratory, IDPH will be conducting active tick surveillance across Illinois.

They will collect the ticks and test them. The results are displayed on an interactive Tick Surveillance Map that documents the counties in Illinois where the different tick species have been confirmed and the types of pathogens present in those ticks.

Here are additional tips provided by public health officials on avoiding tickborne illnesses:

  • Learn about tick removal and symptom awareness.
  • Walk in the center of trails. Avoid wooded, bushy areas with high grass and leaf litter.
  • Wear light-colored clothing to make ticks easier to find. Tuck long pants into socks and boots.
  • Apply an EPA-registered insect repellent containing 20 percent DEET, picaridin, IR3535, or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus according to label directions.
  • Conduct full-body tick checks on family members (underarms, ears, belly button, behind knees, between legs, waist, hair and scalp) every two to three hours. Also check any gear or pets taken on outings.
  • Put your clothes in the dryer on high heat for 10 minutes (or one hour for damp clothes) to kill ticks.
  • Bathe or shower within two hours after coming indoors.
  • If you find a tick on yourself, it is often helpful to keep the tick for species identification. Place the tick in rubbing alcohol or in a sealed bag/container to bring to your healthcare provider, or you can submit the tick sample, or photos of ticks, to the INHS MEL for identification. Submission information can be found on the INHS MEL website.

If you become ill with fever and/or rash after being in an area where ticks may have been, IDPH advises that you contact your health care provider. Some tick-borne illnesses can be life-threatening.

For more information on Lyme disease and tick prevention please visit the IDPH website.

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