Spring has sprung in Humboldt and summer is right around the corner. While sunshine makes adventuring in nature extra inviting, it’s important to remember that the warm weather also marks the beginning of tick season.

The City of Arcata Environmental Services Department offers the following tips on protecting yourself from these potentially Lyme disease carrying critters:

Ticks are tiny, spider-like bugs that attach themselves to the skin of people and animals. While many ticks are not harmful, some can transmit disease. Only one tick found locally can transmit the bacterium that causes Lyme disease – the Western blacklegged tick.

Avoiding tick bites is the easiest way to avoid tick-borne disease. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following precautions to prevent tick bites:

  • Avoid wooded and bushy areas with high grass and leaf litter.

  • When hiking, be sure to stay on cleared paths and designated trails.

  • Wear protective clothing when outdoors, preferably light-colored, long-sleeved shirts and pants.

  • Always check for ticks on your body and clothing after returning from exploring the outdoors.

  • Check your pets for ticks regularly, especially after they spend time outside.

  •  Keep in mind that young ticks are very small (about the size of a poppy seed). When checking for ticks, seek help from a friend or family member to inspect those hard to reach areas.

  • Be sure to check extra-carefully for ticks on areas of the body where hair is present.

  • Speak to your veterinarian about the best tick-prevention methods available for your pets.

    If you find a tick on yourself or a pet, please follow these steps:

  • Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the surface of the skin as possible. Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Do not jerk or twist the tick. Make sure the entire tick has been removed, including the head.

  • Once the tick has been removed, clean the area and your hands with soap and water.

If you develop tick-borne illness symptoms such as fever, chills, a rash at the site of the tick bite, or unusual aches and pains up to 30 days after experiencing a tick bite, consult your medical provider immediately and let them know you were bitten by a tick.

For more information regarding ticks and other tick-borne diseases, please visit the CDC’s website at www.cdc.gov/ticks/index.html.