Tick Season Brings Health Risk
Tick-borne illnesses can be dangerous. That’s why it is a good idea to watch out for ticks when you are outside this summer.
Ticks in Wyoming do not carry Lyme disease as they do in eastern states, but they can spread Tularemia, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and Colorado Tick Fever. Katie Brian, an epidemiologist for the state health department, recommends seeing a doctor if you’re having abnormal fatigue, headaches, fever, nausea, or rashes after a tick bite. Brian said her office hasn’t heard of any cases so far this year, but she expects to as the summer continues.
To prevent bites, Brian advised using repellant and wearing light-colored clothing, which makes the pea-sized arthropods easier to spot.
“Another way is to tuck your pant legs into your socks,” Brian said. “Not very fashionable, but that way they aren’t crawling under your pants. And then, if you’re in an area where ticks could have been doing a tick-check after you hike both on you and your pets.”
Brian said pets can be susceptible to some of the diseases that ticks carry. They can also provide another pathway for the ticks to get to you.
If you do find a tick on yourself, Brian recommended tweezers.
“Get as close to the skin as possible and pull directly up,” Brian said. “You don’t want to twist or anything because you don’t want little body parts to break off, and then, once you get the tick out, wash the area with soap and water. That way is the best way to prevent the bacteria from getting into the skin.”
The chances of coming across a tick are highest if you are walking through tall grass and brush during peak months: May, June, and July.