FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) — As the weather continues to get warmer, more people are enjoying some time outside.
As you enjoy some time outdoors, be on the lookout for ticks.
According to the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH), tick-borne illnesses continue to increase each year in Indiana.
More than 300 cases were reported to the ISDH in 2019.
Ticks are blood-sucking pests and can carry Lyme disease and other illnesses that can sometimes be fatal if left untreated.
Experts are seeing an increase in tick populations in the Midwest, Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states.
According to ISDH, they have found adult and immature ticks carrying Lyme disease in northwest and west central parts of the state.
Hoosiers can reduce their risk of tick bites by:
- Wearing a long-sleeved shirt and light-colored pants, with the shirt tucked in at the waist and the pants tucked into socks, if they will be in grassy or wooded areas
- Treating clothing and outdoor gear with 0.5% permethrin, which is an insect repellent specifically designed for this purpose (permethrin should NOT be used on bare skin)
- Using EPA-registered insect repellents with active ingredients such as DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), para-menthane-diol (PMD) or 2-undecanone
- Treating their pets for ticks
Once indoors, people should thoroughly check for ticks on clothing, gear, pets and skin.
Tumbling clothes in the dryer on high heat for 30 minutes will kill ticks, and showering can help remove any unattached ticks.
Ticks may be safely removed by using tweezers to grasp the tick close to the skin and then pulling outward with steady and even pressure.
After the tick is removed, the area should be washed thoroughly.
Anyone who becomes ill after finding an attached tick should see a medical provider immediately and alert the provider to the exposure.
Tick-borne diseases can be treated with antibiotics, and prompt diagnosis can help prevent complications.