Summer in Delaware is all about the great outdoors – biking and hiking, backyard and beach days, gardening and grass cutting. These time-honored summer activities can expose outdoor enthusiasts to unwanted guests – ticks. Depending on the type of tick, their irritating bite can transmit a variety of pathogens that can cause illnesses ranging from mild to serious.
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control in partnership with the Delaware Division of Public Health have launched new web pages to educate the public about ticks, including where they are found, how to identify different types and what precautions to take before and after exposure to ticks, as well as information about tick-borne pathogens.
Tick facts include:
· In Delaware, ticks are everywhere, but most bites occur in backyards.
· Ticks do not jump or fall out of trees; they wait on grass or other plants for a host to walk by so they can grab on.
· Ticks are active year-round, not just in late spring/early summer which is prime “tick season.”
· Several different types of ticks are found in Delaware, and several types can carry different pathogens that can infect humans including Lyme disease.
Recommended precautions include:
· Keep grass short and remove brush from the yard to reduce tick habitat.
· Wear long pants tucked into socks and long sleeves in areas with high tick populations to help keep ticks from reaching skin.
· When returning from outdoor activities, check for ticks and remove any from skin as soon as possible to reduce the chance of disease transmission.
· Following exposure to tick-prone areas or tick bites, watch for symptoms of common illnesses caused by tick-borne pathogens and seek medical attention as needed.
For more information, visit the DNREC website at de.gov/ticks and the DPH website at de.gov/lyme.