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.
Tips to avoid tick bites:
Walk in the center of trails whenever possible.
Wear long pants and high socks.
Apply insect repellent containing DEET when walking where ticks live.
Examine pets after walking in country.
Bathe or shower as soon as possible after being around tick habitat.
Conduct a full-body tick check when returning from known tick-prone areas.
Tumble dry clothes on high heat for an hour to kill ticks.
Talk to a veterinarian about using tick preventatives on pets.
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.