Mahaska Health Partnership Warns about Ticks

by Symptom Advice on April 16, 2012

MAHASKA COUNTY – Mahaska Health Partnership Public Health cautions you to protect yourself against tick bites.

“It’s not just spring flowers that came out early this year due to our unseasonably mild winter, ticks have also become active in recent weeks,” MHP Public Health Coordinator Patty Malloy, RN, said. “It’s important to protect yourself because ticks can carry and spread many viruses.”

The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) said the best way to prevent tick bites is to avoid wooded and grassy areas, where ticks are usually found. If you do spend time in these areas, they recommend:

· Wearing long-sleeved shirts and long, light-colored pants tucked into your socks or boots.

· Staying on trails when walking or hiking and avoiding tall grass.

· using insect repellents that contain DEET (closely follow the label instructions, not recommended for children under 2 months of age).

· Checking yourself, your children and your pets for ticks after spending time outside. Ticks tend to prefer the back of the knee, armpit, scalp, groin and neck area.

“Ticks can carry organisms that cause Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrlichiosis and Lyme disease,” Malloy said. “Lyme disease is the most common virus ticks spread, and it doesn’t always cause the same symptoms in every infected person. The earliest sign of Lyme disease is a rash that may appear within a few days to a month of a tick bite.

“The rash will first look like a small, red bump; then it will expand until it begins to look like a bulls eye, with a red center and red ring around it.”

If you discover a tick on your body, the IDPH recommends removing it right away. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) suggested carefully grasping the tick’s mouthparts with tweezers. this part will usually be close to the skin; do not squeeze the tick’s body. Pull steadily away from the skin; then clean the wound and disinfect the insect bite.

“Following these instructions can reduce your risk of developing a tick-related illness,” Malloy said. “Folk remedies such as burning the tick with a match or covering it with petroleum jelly or nail polish are not effective.”

For more information about tick activity in your area, visit to learn more about how Mahaska Health Partnership is making Healthcare Personal, visit

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