If you enjoy the summer weather outside, keep in mind that ticks are also very active at this time of year. Ticks are tiny insects that are often linked to a serious bacterial infection called Lyme disease and other diseases.
You are most likely to pick up a tick on your skin when walking through wooded areas or in places with lots of tall grass and plants. Many animals can also carry ticks. Ticks can be as small as the head of a pin or as big as an eraser. They are usually brown to maroon and black with flattened, teardrop-shaped bodies. In contrast to mosquito bites, you don’t feel a tick bite.
When enjoying nature, it is important to stay on the main paths and, if possible, wear protective clothing. You should regularly check your skin and clothing for ticks, especially right after you’ve been outside. Remove a tick with tweezers as soon as possible. Be sure to wash the area with soap and water and apply an antiseptic.
Contact your doctor right away if you experience a ring-shaped red rash, fever, or any unexplained illness and make sure to explain that you have been bitten by a tick.
Play it safe and look for ticks frequently when enjoying the great outdoors hiking, camping, or even in grassy fields nearby or in your home.
Regan Thomas, President
State Medical Society of Illinois
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