officials are encouraging Hoosiers to protect themselves from tick bites
while outdoors, as warmer temperatures bring an increase in tick activity
across the state.
Ticks are small,
insect-like creatures that are found throughout Indiana in grassy and wooded
areas. They tend to be most active during the late spring and early summer.
Recent field sampling by the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) has
detected that ticks are already active this year.
“This is the time
of year when we start to see the risk for tick-borne diseases increase,”
said State Public Health Veterinarian Jennifer Brown. “The best way to
protect yourself and your family is to prevent tick bites and conduct
frequent tick checks during and after outdoor activities, whether you’re in
the woods or in your own backyard.”
Indiana ticks can
carry the bacterium that causes Lyme disease. In addition to Lyme disease,
ticks can transmit a variety of other diseases, such as ehrlichiosis and
Rocky Mountain spotted fever. In 2017, Indiana reported more than 250 cases
of tick-borne illness.
Hoosiers can reduce
their risk of tick bites by:
* Wearing a
light-colored, long-sleeved shirt and light-colored pants, with the shirt
tucked in at the waist and the pants tucked into socks
* 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
EPA-registered insect repellents with active ingredients such as DEET,
picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), para-menthane-diol (PMD)
* Treating their
pets for ticks.
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 usually need
to be attached for several hours to a couple of days before they can
transmit disease, so quickly finding and removing a tick can help keep you
safe from disease,” Brown said.
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. The tick should be discarded by
submerging it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag or container, wrapping
it tightly in tape or flushing it down the toilet. Ticks should never be
crushed with the fingernails.
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.
Forinformation about ticks and how to prevent the diseases they carry, see
the ISDH website at