Tick Season Coming; Here’s How to Avoid Getting Lyme Disease

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

Press release from the Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services:

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.

“It is impossible to tell if a tick carries Lyme disease or any other tick-borne disease by looks alone,” said DHHS Environmental Health Director Melissa Martel. “It’s important to educate yourself on tick safety and precautions.”

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

“As the weather gets warmer and we start to spend more time outdoors, we increase the chances of our exposure to adult ticks and the smaller nymphal stage ticks, which can also carry disease,” Martel said. “If you spend time in brushy, wooded areas or in our beach grasses, it’s important to check yourself thoroughly when you leave. If you find a tick on you, remove it properly and immediately.”

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 $40 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.
  • 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.


  • Beware… the dunes around Humboldt Bay are full of ticks this year.

  • Coming? I have already had to dig 4 of those little suckers out of me this year and that is out of the 100 I burned off my clothes. Won’t tell you where one was but it required yoga, a mirror and I couldn’t walk for 2 days.

  • Up here by Dinsmore, the rainy season is tick season. And it’s been a bad one. We usually have less in summer!

  • Ernie Branscomb

    Just so you know, deet is 85% effective against ticks, 97% against mosquitos.

    • Repel with Deet also is extremely effective to clear yellowed headlights! Works %100…other 2 specialty kits used prior…no good.

  • Honeydew Bridge C.H.U.M.P.

    Wearing the color blue attracts them and if it’s in a hard to remove place or on pets that won’t still-

    Cover it with Vasoline, it will suffocate and fall off.

    If you’re in a severe Lyme area, like Hayfork, just go get the pills right away- don’t waste time sending a tick to some lab.

    Also, ticks are attracted to marijuana use and cultivation, so eradicate marijuana plants on sight and cease all marijuana consumption. Ticks are also drawn to bill hats and stickers on back vehicle windows- so that’s another thing to discontinue.

    • ticks are not attracted to colors. They wait on plants and grasp at you when you brush against them.
      Vaseline/olive oil works but it will not work instantly. The longer they are attached, they more of a chance that they will transmit the disease.

  • Upsets my stomach to see those damn things that caused all this pain and confusion in my life. Hope your having a good day Kym!

  • I was wondering when the disease is passed. I heard 24 hours after being bit and the tick is full of your blood. At this point fluids from the tick will flow into you. You can also break the tick off in yourself and get it that way too. Anyone know for sure? Thanks.

    • A girl I was hiking the Marbles with back in 93 had the tell tale bullseye from a tick she got that day…we were naked a lot so I know.

      You can get it by leaving behind part of the infected tick or by the removal. Read the instructions above very carefully on removal.

  • Honeydew you are so right about heading out to a doctor ASAP. He will start you on antibiotics right away to prevent you from getting Lyme Disease. He will find out what the tick is himself. While I was living 16 miles in the back hills from Hayfork. I didn’t know what Lyme Disease was when I was bitten by one of these ticks. I just took it off and went on about my business. I was raised part of my life in the swamps and that was all you did. Once again I was bitten by another one and later I was walking with a nurse in the hills and she saw the ring and bulls eye on my leg and told me to get to a doctor right away. I told her that this sign of the tick bite was the same as when I had been bitten a year ago. She said because it was over a year it was to late. Well I educated myself on Lyme Disease. No need to go into why I did this, I found out real quick that the Doctors in Sacto. didn’t know squat about Lyme Disease.

    I’ve been fighting it every since. You wouldn’t believe how. Just please get yourself and it to a Doctor right away. Trust an old woman who knows. I wouldn’t be telling you this if it wasn’t a fact. I’ve been fighting it for 26 yrs.

  • Sounds like you’ve gone thru what I’ve been thru. They found out late that I was biten.i have chronic persistent Lyme diese now. I did rife,and ionic footpaths which draws all the toxins etc out. I feel better but struggle everyday!!good luck to you Gypsy Rose🌹

  • Thank you G-MAS. Good luck to you to sweetheart.

  • Cover yourself in poison to avoid evil nature. Department of health?

  • The information is good anytime, but i agree with other commenters that we are well into tick season. I think of it as late winter ’til midsummer. When the grass is growing, the ticks are too.

  • Save your 40 bucks there’s no point in knowing once you got it you’re done pills for life and it feels like you have arthritis like A old lady and can’t drink and take medication best thing to do is go totally organic no white sugar Or Shoot yourself in the head

  • Your not done! I’ve come along way. I take no meds. You can manage Lymes. It’s not the same for everybody.yes there’s bad days,but there’s plenty of good days. And today’s a BEAUTIFUL day and I’m smiling😆

  • Honeydew Bridge C.H.U.M.P.

    Lyme actually is transmitted sexually, look it up & that’s something people should know.

    This is by no means trolling…

  • blackandwhitesripes

    Tick season is coming? Its been here a while now, just saying.

  • Just saw FB post of lil girl unable to stand. Diagnosis was paralysis due to tick, which was hiding in her hair! Doc had patient with same previous symptoms, thankfully 😅 Symptoms occur within 2-7 days. Seek treatment ASAP

  • I had a friend who collected ticks outside of Willits for research. He would walk through fields and let them attach to his clothes, then remove them and mail them to some folks in Davis for research. He swore by Tea Tree oil. He misted himself with some oil mixed into distilled water, especially around his neck. He said in all the years he collected them he was never bitten.
    Supposedly, any strong essential oil will work. I put lavender oil on my pants at my thighs, so if a tick is climbing up my pants it has to go across the oil. if you can stomach it, you can watch them try to find a path around the oil, and give up and sort of fall off. Might be BS but for a few cents in essential oil, it can’t hurt.

  • Anything or anyway that people say work,it must have worked for them so it’s worth a try!! It’s horrible to live with. And the ticks that give us Lymes are so damn hard to see on us. Thanks for the info

  • Myth: a tick must be attached for x amount of hours to transmit Lyme. This is true of east coast ticks, who carry the bacteria in their stomachs (and where most of the research has been done). The ticks in these parts carry the disease in their saliva. Told to me by Dr. Matheson Sr. MD, Willits.

    • My Stanford doctor said something similar. I don’t remember the exact details but she said it took a very short attachment time in some cases for the disease to be transmitted.

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