Local experts share tips and advice on how to protect yourself

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Take out the bug spray. You should not only worry about mosquitoes, but also ticks.

Great Plains Nature Center director Amanda Alessi says ticks are seen much earlier than in other years. “I think this summer is going to be bad,” she said.

As the data show that tick-borne diseases are on the increase. Bring a little caution for your time in the sun.

“If you think you’ve gone out where you might have been exposed to ticks, take a shower immediately as soon as you can, and anything that’s not already attached will be washed – and check regularly,” said Alessi.

Tick-borne diseases have exploded over the past two decades, according to the CDC, from 12 cases in 2004 to 298 in 2018.

“I think there are better reports. I think there is a greater awareness of certain diseases, ”said Dr Robert Wittler, director of the division of infectious diseases at the KU School of Medicine Wichita.

Dr Wittler says he saw a case of Rocky Mountain spotted fever last month. “It may go unnoticed because for all these diseases, the longer the tick, the greater the risk of transmission,” he said.

Dr Wittler says it’s especially important to look for ticks with young children: “They can play more in woods, grassy areas and other places, and so they don’t necessarily see or smell the tick. not. ”

And if you find one, “Take a pair of tweezers and kind of pull up the skin as best you can, don’t turn slowly,” Dr Whittler said.

“Then you want to stick it on a piece of paper and write the date where you were and put it in the freezer – and that way if you develop any medical complications or concerns or questions later on,” Alessi said. “You can then go back and check that check mark.”

Prevention is the best advice, however. Other tips include covering your body with clothing when entering an area that may have ticks. Wearing light-colored clothing can also help you spot ticks.

Dogs and other outdoor pets should also be checked for ticks.

For more information on ticks and CDC tick prevention, click here.

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