DHHS Reminds You to Take Precautions Against Ticks This Season

This is a press release from the Humboldt County Department of Health & Human Services:

Western Black-Legged Tick

Photo of a Western Black-Legged Tick from Wikimedia Commons | Taken by the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention

Tick season is quickly approaching, and the Humboldt County Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) is reminding people to protect themselves and their animals.

The tiny, spider-like bugs attach themselves onto the skin of people and animals and feed on their blood. While many ticks are not harmful, there are some that transmit disease.

“Avoiding tick bites is the easiest way to avoid tick-borne disease,” said DHHS Environmental Health Senior Environmental Health Specialist Morgan Cook. “Appropriately using repellents, staying on well maintained trails when hiking, and brushing ticks off before they bite are ways to accomplish this.”  

Only one tick found locally can transmit the bacterium that causes Lyme disease—the Western blacklegged tick.

“Anyone bitten by a tick should remove it promptly and wash the area thoroughly with soap and water,” Cook said. “If a person develops any unusual symptoms up to 30 days after a bite, they should consult their medical provider and let them know they were bitten by a tick.”

If you find a tick attached to your skin, 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 it. Make sure the entire tick has been removed, including the head. Once the tick has been removed, clean the area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub or soap and water. 

The Public Health Lab offers free tick identification. After removing a tick, if you want to know what type it is, place it in a sealed container or zip-close bag with a paper towel moistened with water. 

If the tick is identified by lab staff as a Western blacklegged tick, they can test it for Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterium that causes Lyme disease, for a $45 fee. 

The Public Health Lab is located at 529 I St. in Eureka. For more information about tick testing, call 707-268-2179.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers the following tips to stay tick-free this season:

  • • Avoid wooded and brushy areas with high grass and leaf litter. Ticks are also common locally in our grass beach dunes.
  • • When out on the trails, stick to the center of trails. 
  • • Use repellents that contains 20 percent or greater DEET, picaridin, or IR3535 directly on to exposed skin. Always follow product label instructions. Parents should apply this product to their children, avoiding hands, eyes and mouth. Do not use repellents on babies younger than 2 months old.
  • • Use products that contain permethrin on clothing. Treat clothing and gear, such as boots, pants, socks and tents with products containing 0.5 percent permethrin. It remains protective through several washings. Pre-treated clothing is available and may be protective longer. 
  • • Remove ticks found on your body immediately.
  • • Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors (preferably within two hours) to wash off and more easily find ticks that are crawling on you. 
  • • Conduct a full-body tick check using a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body upon return from tick-infested areas. Parents should check their children for ticks under the arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button, behind the knees, between the legs, around the waist and especially in their hair. 

Examine gear and pets. Ticks can ride into the home on clothing and pets, then attach to a person later, so carefully examine pets, coats and day packs.

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13 comments

  • Tick season is almost over in my neighborhood.

    I’ve been using NexGard for a while now on my dogs. It works great.

  • “The Public Health Lab offers free tick identification. After removing a tick, if you want to know what type it is, place it in a sealed container or zip-close bag with a paper towel moistened with water. ”

    The important part is keep it moist. If you don’t, the Health Dept. can’t ID it or test it.

  • I have chronic Lyme. You really do not want it. I never saw a tick or a bite, and I had it when I moved here from Sacramento, so you really can’t be too careful.

  • What are they talking about ? Area specific , apparently………few ticks now that it is so dry. Your best defense against tick are lizards ! I just found that out. Don’t let the Kat kill all the lizards. Google it, google knows everything , I don’t remember the source off hand.

    • Odd. Normally I have lots of lizards but haven’t seen one yet. I wonder what happened to them. Lots of logging going on around me but not at my place. Bummer.

  • Alt Right For Life

    Lyme is very contagious, also sexually transmitted.
    Start the pills for any tick bite, don’t wear blue clothes as that attracts them, and have your dogs sleep outside the house.
    Be careful and safe.

  • Mr Cook’s otherwise excellent remarks and advice about tick bite symptoms is I believe missing a key fact: that perhaps 50% of Lyme Disease tick bites do NOT produce the symptoms of the rash and bullseye pattern. The absence of those symptoms give a very dangerous sense of safety.

    Check this with any of the several Lyme Disease websites….

    Those people bitten who THINK they are ok because they saw no rash or the bullseye are are at MORE risk because they think they are ok, and they actually MAY NOT BE.

    Keeping the tick as described is very important, DO ask for the DHHS help, and if you are bitten it is prudent to see your doctor because Lyme is preventable ONLY in the early month’s stages, after that it is harder to treat and probably cannot be eliminated, it often becomes a chronic debilitating condition.

    You REALLY do not want Lyme Disease!

    Treatment after the early stages is then symptom and damage control and the Lyme Disease becomes a life long problem with flareups having to be beaten back with heavy drugs and time and money.

    There are also new invasive ticks being found back east and carrying other diseases besides Lyme Disease!

    So just because you did NOT have a rash etc after a KNOWN tick bite, do NOT be complacent and think you are safe, you need to ask your doctor, and save the tick and have it tested by DHHS if at all possible.

    Good luck, be wise about ticks, they are from Hell.
    ………………………………………………………………………………………

    ( Kym, you need to interview Mr Cook about Rabies as well, he has a lot of experience with that locally too, and it’s the season for that nightmare too.
    I recently found out you can get Rabies from handling roadkill, such as removing an animal from the roadway, or the grill of your car.
    Animals caught by pets can have rabies as well, there is a reason normally smart elusive wildlife gets caught by pets or traffic, and rabies is one of those causes. )

    Thanks for this…

  • One common myth needs to be disposed of. Do Not pull ticks from your skin unless they have only just begun to bite. Ticks are best removed by gently grasping them with tweezers and twisting them counter clockwise. This removes them cleanly, without breaking off any of their mouth parts in the wound. Pulling the tick out almost always leaves infection producing fragments in the wound. I have lived in a tick infested area for nearly 40 years, and have removed many dozens of ticks from myself and others using this method. Not once has any part of a tick been left in the wound. The only caution here is that the removed ticks, being totally intact, are very lively and must be disposed of carefully, lest they escape to bite again.
    One more thing- tick season started months ago when there was still plenty of moisture along with warmth. It is now winding down in the drier weather. Maybe this is an old press release?

    • The press release was sent out July 2

    • Ocrimony, how do you figure? I have taken dozens of ticks off myself, and probably hundreds off my dogs. Just last night i dug one off my back. There’s no point to twisting. Ticks don’t have spiral mouthparts. You just grab them down low as close to the skin as you can get (a pair of tweezers specially bent so that there’s space for the body is handy, but fingernails work well) and pull straight out. Click! A most satisfying little sound/feeling as the thing gets pulled off.
      Twisting the tick never made any sense to me, nor has it ever worked. It mangles the critter, and we want a clean, straightforward removal.

      • Well, Laura, obviously our experiences have been far different. I have gotten numerous ticks out by pulling or scraping them off, but only when they are just beginning to burrow in. I have never seen one successfully removed by pulling, with tweezers or however, once the tick is in deep. And I have never seen mouth parts left in a wound when the embedded tick was carefully twisted out using tweezers and a gentle grip. Perhaps you are much more skilled than I am.

        • Hey Ocrimony, i didn’t mean to give you acrimony!

          I still don’t see how it could work; for instance, why counterclockwise, why any clockwise, when there’s nothing but straight-ahead in their mouth parts?

          For the straight-out method, the curve on the tweezers is key. They need to come together like a C-clamp, grabbing just the critter’s mouth right AT the skin surface. If they are straight, they’ll squish the tick and give you a mess, not to mention not really grabbing with certainty where they need to.

          But carry on. Whatever works for you is good.

          I left some parts in the other night. They’ll work their way out soon enough. It was on my back, no way to get tweezers of any sort on it, and no other human around. (Should have had my dog give it a go! I take enough of hers out! Ha.) So i just felt for it and gouged good with my fingernails. Then i did swipe at the spot with rubbing alcohol.
          I think it’s good to get accustomed enough to something that we don’t have to feel unreasonable fear and loathing along with the real concerns for disease transmission.

  • Janet Chambers

    I was diagnosed with Lyme disease 5 years ago and was taking Antibiotics and Nonsteroidal anti-Inflammatory drug which seemed to help. However, I still suffer from some of the symptoms. My symptoms have always been chronic fatigue, joint pain, and even neurological problems in controlling hand and leg movements. I am a 54 year old female. the Antibiotics wasn’t really working and I could not tolerate them for long due to severe side effects, so this year our family doctor started me on Natural Herbal Gardens Lyme disease Herbal mixture, We ordered their Lyme disease herbal treatment after reading alot of positive reviews, i am happy to report with the help of Natural Herbal Garden natural herbs I have been able to reverse my symptoms using herbs, my symptoms totally declined over a 8 weeks use of the Natural Herbal Gardens Lyme disease herbal mixture. My Lyme disease is totally reversed! Their official web page is naturalherbalgardens . co m this is a herbal store that will be leaving it’s footprint in this world. I’m 54 and have never been this healthier

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