The Indiana State Department of Health (IDOH) is cautioning Hoosiers to
protect themselves as the weather warms and tick season begins.
Ticks are small, insect-like creatures often found in naturally vegetated
areas or woodlands throughout Indiana, IDOH said in a statement released on
Monday. Last year, Indiana confirmed 62 cases of Lyme disease, one case of
Rocky Mountain spotted fever, one case of Ehrlichiosis, and two cases of
“Ticks become active when the temperatures rise,” said Jennifer House,
veterinary epidemiologist at the Indiana State Department of Health. “Like
mosquitoes, ticks are carriers of a number of diseases and all ticks should
be considered infectious and capable of transmitting diseases, even though
some are not.”
IDOH recommends that if folks plan to enter a grassy or wooded area where
ticks are often present, the best way to prevent tick-transmitted diseases
is to wear a long-sleeved shirt and light-colored pants, with the shirt
tucked in at the waist and the pants tucked into socks. The use of
repellents provides even more protection.
Insect repellents containing DEET or picaridin can be sprayed on both skin
and clothing to repel ticks and other insects. People who expect to be
exposed to tick habitat for extended periods of time should use products
containing permethrin on their clothing. Permethrin is an insecticide that
kills ticks and other insects on contact.
After leaving a grassy or wooded area, people should check for ticks on
clothing and skin. Ticks need to be attached from several hours to a couple
of days before they can infect an individual. If these diseases are
diagnosed promptly, all of them can be successfully treated with
“If a tick is attached to your skin, it can be removed with either tweezers
or forceps by grasping the tick as close to the skin as possible,” House
said. “Ticks should not be removed with bare fingers, but if tweezers or
forceps are not available, you can use tissue paper or a paper towel to
prevent the passing of any possible infection.
Lyme disease is often associated with a persistent, slowly expanding blotchy
red rash which is usually fainter at the center than at the edges. Other
signs and symptoms include joint pain or swelling, especially in the knees;
fatigue; difficulty in concentrating; headache; stiff neck or weakness of
the facial muscles; dizziness; and an irregular heartbeat.
The symptoms of Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Ehrlichiosis and Tularemia are
similar. They include a moderate-to-high fever, coupled with fatigue; muscle
aches and pains; severe headaches; and chills. With Rocky Mountain spotted
fever a rash may also develop shortly after disease onset, first appearing
on the arms, legs, palms of the hand and soles of the feet before spreading
to other parts of the body.
For more information about tick-borne diseases, visit