The Ray and Carroll County Health Departments want who heads outside for work or to enjoy the summer weather to be aware of the danger that ticks can pose.  Click to hear KMZU’s Janet Adkison speak with Environmental Health Specialist Alan Dreves:

Alan Dreves

Press Release from the Ray County Health Department

Ticks are responsible for more disease than any insects.  The are not insects actually, but small arachnids.  They are effective transmitters of disease because they take blood from a very large variety of small and large mammals.  In general they must get a blood meal before they can molt to the next life stage.

There are at least 6 tick borne serious diseases in Missouri:  Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrlichiosis, Tularemia, Q fever, Lyme disease or Lyme like disease and the Southern tick associated rash illness.  Fortunately not all ticks are vectors for disease.  your chance of getting a disease from a tick bite depends on what type of tick bites you and how long it was attached.  The American dog tick and the Lone Star tick are vectors of disease in this area.

Before You Go Outdoors

Know where to expect ticks.  They are commonly found on grass or brush at least a couple of feet off the ground.  They will perch with front legs extended, waiting on a branch for the next meal to walk by.  Walk in the middle of pathways.  Avoid boundaries of lawns and woods.  Use Permethrin to treat clothing and camping gear.  Products containing Permethrin actually kill ticks as well as chiggers and mosquitoes.  Permethrin shouldn’t be used on skin.  use a repellant containing Deet on skin.  Repellants containing 20 percent or more Deet can provide several hours of protection against ticks.  Parents applying Deet to children should avoid contacting the child’s hands , mouth and eyes with Deet.

After You Come Back Indoors

Check clothing and body for ticks.  Shower soon after coming back indoors.

If You Find an Attached Tick

Remove the attached tick as soon as possible by grasping the tick as closely as possible to the skin.  Pull it straight out.  Tweezers and tick removal tools can be used to remove ticks.  Avoid the old wives’ tales of using heat, fingernail polish or such methods that irritate the tick.  Irritation makes the tick regurgitate back into the body.  If you experience a fever or rash after being bitten, seek medical attention.