Tick exposure can occur year-round, but ticks are most active during warmer months (April-September).
Ticks live in grassy, brushy, or wooded areas, or even on animals. Spending time outside walking your dog, camping, gardening, or hunting could bring you in close contact with ticks. Many people get ticks in their own yard or neighborhood.
Check your body for ticks after being outdoors. Conduct a full body check upon return from potentially tick-infested areas, including your own backyard. Use a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body.
The most common symptoms of tick-related illnesses are:
Fever/chills: With all tickborne diseases, patients can experience fever at varying degrees and time of onset.
Aches and pains: Tickborne disease symptoms include headache, fatigue, and muscle aches. With Lyme disease you may also experience joint pain. The severity and time of onset of these symptoms can depend on the disease and the patient’s personal tolerance level.
Avoid high grass and leaf litter and walk in the center of hiking trails.
Use repellent that contains 20% or more DEET, picaridin, or IR3535 on exposed skin.
Use products that contain permethrin to treat clothing and gear, including boots, pants, socks.
Dogs are very susceptible to tick bites and tickborne diseases. Vaccines are not available for most of the tickborne diseases that dogs can get, and they don’t keep the dogs from bringing ticks into your home. For these reasons, it’s important to use a tick preventive product on your dog. Signs of tickborne disease may not appear for 7-21 days or longer after a tick bite, so watch your dog closely for changes in behavior or appetite if you suspect that your pet has been bitten by a tick.