Protect Yourself! The Ticks Are Out for Blood Now in Illinois
Summer is a great time of the year, primarily because there are so many fun things to do. Swimming, boating, campfires, cookouts, concerts, time spent on the lake, fairs, festivals, my list goes on and on, BUT I hate summer for three very specific reasons...
Wasps, Mosquitoes, and TICKS!
I know each insect plays a vital role in the Circle of Life, but I REALLY wish summer fun could exist without them! We may not be able to abolish these three pests from the face of the Earth, but we can protect ourselves from a bit of their wrath.
In this case, let's zero in on ticks, (because these little buggers are the ones I hate the most).
It's Officially Prime Tick Season in Illinois
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health's website;
In Illinois, the adults are most active in April, May and June. By September, the adults are inactive and are rarely observed.
When I first read that I thought, "What? I've found plenty of ticks on me in July and August too", then I read further.
Kinds of Ticks Most Commonly Found in Illinois
The Illinois Department of Health says there are 15 different species of ticks living in Illinois, but only 3 of them pose particular danger to humans.
Let's start with the species that sucks the most...
The Deer Tick, aka Blacklegged Tick
Deer ticks are found most prevalently in wooded areas in Northern Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota. According to the IDPH;
The larvae and nymphs are active in the spring and early summer; adults may be active in both the spring and fall. The blacklegged / deer tick can transmit Lyme disease, babesiosis and possibly ehrlichiosis to humans.
Next on the Ticks Sucks Scale is the American Dog Tick, also known as the Wood Tick
These ticks are usually most active in spring and early summer and are also the ones most commonly found on our bodies and our dogs. Wood ticks are reddish-brown and the females have a silver spot behind the head, while males have silver lines on their back.
Next Up, Is the Lone Star Tick
The tick in the middle with the white spot on its back is a Lone Star tick. If there is anything good to say about this yucky creature is that it is most commonly found in the southern part of Illinois, (but sometimes they venture up North), and they are less likely to transmit diseases than a deer tick is.
Best Ways To Keep Your Blood Safe From Ticks
I think we all know that wearing long sleeves, hats, and pants in wooded areas and applying insect repellent containing Deet ON YOUR CLOTHES is the best way to prevent ticks, but there are a few more important things to remember according to the Illinois Department of Public Health:
- Check your family members and pets for ticks every 2 to 3 hours when in a high-tick zone like the woods.
- Remove ticks right away by placing tweezers close to the skin and pulling gently so you don't break the nasty tick head off.
- Never use a match, petroleum jelly, lotion, or bare hands to get a tick out.
- Always wash and apply antiseptic to any tick bite spot.
Here's hoping we can all have a tick bite-free summer!
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