El Dorado health officer Warns of Tick Season Start
Infectious disease specialist Dr. Brad Spellberg explains on The Doctors that Lyme disease is an infection caused by a bacteria that’s transmitted when a tick is attached for 24 to 48 hours. Initial symptoms include a red rash shaped like a bull's-eye or target. Antibiotics can be effective when diagnosed early. If Lyme disease goes untreated, it can cause arthritis, joint swelling and inflammation.
The El Dorado County Health Officer warned Wednesday that warming temperatures signal tick season.
Dr. Alicia Paris-Pombo reminded residents to take precautions to protect themselves and pets from the blood-sucking parasites. While not all ticks carry disease, it is important to remove them from the skin promptly and properly.
“If a tick attaches to the skin, it should be grabbed closest to the skin with tweezers or a tissue, and pulled straight out using a firm and steady motion,” said Paris-Pombo.
Then wash your hands and also the spot from which the tick was removed with soap and warm water. Also, apply antiseptic to the bite site.
If a person develops a rash, flu-like symptoms or a fever, call a doctor, said Paris-Pombo.
Habitat for ticks includes woods, brush and fields. Ticks are most active during the warmer months of April through September, according to a county health department press release.
Ticks can carry a pathogen that causes Lyme disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Lyme disease is caused by a bacterium and is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected ticks.
Symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash.
If left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system, according to the CDC.
Tips to avoid tick bites:
As warmer weather approaches and individuals venture outdoors, El Dorado County health officials are reminding residents to take precautions to protect themselves and their pets from ticks and tick bites. "Ticks can carry and transmit diseases to people and pets," said Dr. Alicia Paris-Pombo, El Dorado County Health Officer.
"While not all ticks carry disease, prompt and proper removal of any tick is important," said Paris-Pombo. "If a tick attaches to the skin, it should be grabbed closest to the skin with tweezers or a tissue, and pulled straight out using a firm and steady motion. Wash your hands and the bite site with soap and warm water after the tick is removed, and apply antiseptic to the bite site. See a doctor if you develop a rash, flu-like symptoms or a fever. Tell your doctor if you have been bitten by a tick."
Ticks live in wooded areas, brushy fields, long grasses and leaf-litter areas, and are most active during the warmer months (April through September). Tips to avoid tick bites include the following:
- Avoid walking through wooded or brushy areas with tall grass; walk in the center of trails whenever possible
- Wear long pants and long socks, and apply insect repellent containing DEET when walking through areas where ticks may be present
- Examine gear and pets after walking
- Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors to wash off and more easily find ticks that may have crawled on you or your clothing
- Conduct a full-body tick check upon return from known tick infested areas, and check for up to three days after possible exposure (some ticks may be very small and are hard to see)
- Tumble clothes in a dryer on high heat for an hour to kill remaining ticks
- Talk to your veterinarian about using tick preventives on your pets
Additional tips to prevent ticks and diseases transmitted by ticks can be found at www.cdc.gov/ticks/.