OLATHE, Kan. — If it seems like you’re seeing ticks earlier than ever before, that’s because you are.
“Ticks are an annual event here in Kansas City. What’s interesting is it seems like they emerge earlier and earlier every year and maybe stay later and later in the season,” said Dennis Patton at Johnson County’s Kansas State Research Extension in Olathe. “We got our first tick report of the season in early March.”
And while the odds of contracting Lyme disease from a tick bite in our region are remote, Patton said there are a few things to watch out for.
“If your body reacts differently than it does to a normal bite, if it gets red or it gets warm, or it gets what they call the bullseye, that’s when you probably need to alert your doctor,” Patton said.
There’s a few simple steps you can take to prevent ticks from ending up on you and your pets.
“Cover up your body as much as possible, that’s less exposed skin. Wear light-colored clothing because that little dark brown, black tick is harder to spot,” Patton told FOX4. “And then do things like tuck your pant legs inside your socks.”
When it comes to removing a tick, Patton said there are a lot of falsehoods on the internet that actually make it worse. Don’t use alcohol, nail polish, or flame from a lighter, for example, to remove the pest.
“The best way to remove a tick is to get a pair of tweezers and just grasp hold of it and just do a slow, gentle pull. Let that tick relax and release,” Patton said.
And, believe it or not, if you have a mind to, the Missouri Department of Conservation wants people to mail ticks in.
In a collaborative study with A.T. Still University in Kirksville, experts are collecting tick samples from all over the state to track pathogens and other trends among the arachnids. Follow this link for more info if you’d like to participate in that study.
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