WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – More people enjoy outdoor activities when the temperatures warm up. But outdoor activities, like hiking and camping, expose people and their pets to ticks.
“As soon as the weather starts warming up, then they are present and become active. So, we can see them certainly in the early warm days in the spring,” Purdue Entomologist Tom Turpin.
Turpin said ticks can survive cold winters, including the recent hard winter Indiana experienced. The ticks hide underneath tree bark and dried vegetation to stay warm. He said extreme cold temperatures do not kill them.
“What is more important to their survival would be fluctuations. So, if we had cold followed by warm followed by cold, all of this is a lot more detrimental,” explained Turpin.
A person is more likely to get a tick in a wooded environment and less likely in a mowed lawn. There are a few tips to protect yourself from a tick.
“The first thing you do is cover up. When you come out in an environment like this and you want to walk out into the tall vegetation, you need to make sure you are not wearing shorts,” said Turpin.
Turpin suggests tucking in clothes, using repellant and doing a tick check.
It is also important to protect your pets.
Petsburgh Pet Care Veterinarian Rose Robertson said there is an increased number of pets with ticks coming into their office. Pet owners need to medicate their pets with a collar or an oral medication to help protect them.
“Those that will go camping. Big one! We found a dog yesterday that had 30 ticks on him, just from camping last weekend,” said Robertson.
Turpin said if you or a pet have a tick, it is better not to remove it with your fingers.
“Take a pair of tweezers, then you use the tweezers right at the base where the tick is attached. So, that when you pull them out gently you don’t leave the mouth parts in your skins.”
By removing a tick with tweezers, a person less likely to be left with irritation or an infection.