Ticks tend to be smaller than a pencil eraser, but they can cause big health problems if they’re not caught early enough.
For those who spend time working in the garden or walking along wooded or grassy trails, it also means greater exposure to ticks, which are so tiny you may never even see or feel them.
The Columbiana County Health Department recommends that people protect, check, remove and watch when dealing with ticks. It says to use an EPA-approved bug spray when you’re outside and preventatives for pets if you take your furry friend for a walk.
Check yourself, your kids and your pets after spending time outdoors, especially in places where you know there are going to be a lot of ticks like wooded areas. Remove it as soon as you see it if you do find a tick, and if you do start to see symptoms from a tick bite, watch those closely.
“A lot of the tick-borne illnesses have the same symptoms, so your rash, your fever, your chills, you are going to want to reach out to your primary care even if you haven’t had a bite and you’re starting to see those symptoms if you’ve been outside then it’s recommended that you reach out to your primary care provider for medical attention,” said Kayla Hamilton of the Columbiana County Combined Health District.
It’s recommended that should you find a tick on yourself or your pet, you use tweezers or your finger and thumb to gently pull the bug out. It’s also a good idea to check your clothing and take a shower after being out in wooded or grassy areas.
Ticks can also spread Lyme disease and other infections within a couple of days of biting.
According to the Ohio Department of Health, diseases spread by ticks are an increasing concern in Ohio and are being reported to ODH more frequently in the past decade.
Lyme disease is the most common, with about 20 cases in Columbiana County just last year. Symptoms may include a rash in the shape of a bullseye, headache, fever or chills.
Another rare disease is the Powassan virus; one case was reported in Columbiana County in 2021.
“It has become more common, as all tick-borne illnesses have become more common, and it starts out the way that a lot of other tick-borne illnesses start out, so that’s another reason we recommend people get check as soon as possible if they’ve gotten bitten and start to experience those symptoms,” Hamilton said.
Another tick-borne illness, Babesiosis, is also on the rise. It mainly occurs in parts of the Northeast and upper Midwest and usually peaks during the warmer months.
After a day outside, be sure to do a thorough check of your skin.