With warm weather upon us and people spending more time outdoors, the Department of Public Health (DPH) reminds Connecticut residents to take steps to prevent tick bites and tick-borne diseases, which become more of a danger this time of year.
Ticks grasp passing hosts from leaf litter, tips of grass, and shrubbery. Most ticks are probably picked up on the lower legs and then crawl up the body to find a place to feed. Adult ticks will, however, look for a host in the shrub layer several feet above the ground, about or above the height of children. Tick nymphs (the stage before they become adult ticks) are small and often overlooked or mistaken for freckles.
In Connecticut, the peak months for acquiring infections from ticks are May through July. Ticks in Connecticut can carry a variety of disease causing agents, including rickettsia, bacteria, and protozoa. People can become infected with more than one disease with just one tick bite. Tickborne diseases found in Connecticut include Lyme disease, Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis and Rocky
Mountain spotted fever.
To prevent tick bites, DPH recommends the following:
• Avoid tall grass and over-grown, brushy areas.
• When hiking in wooded areas, stay in the middle of trails.
• Consider using insect repellent, according to manufacturer’s instructions.
• Tuck pant leg into socks, wear long-sleeved shirts, and closed shoes.
• Wear light-colored clothing to see the ticks easier for removal.
• When returning indoors, shower using a wash cloth or puff to remove any unattached
• Examine yourself, children, and pets for ticks when returning indoors.
• Talk to your veterinarian to find out how to protect your pets from tick bites.
For more information about ticks and tick-borne diseases, including what to do if you find a tick, visit the DPH website at www.ct.gov/dph/ticks or call (860) 509-7995.