How to Stay Clear of Ticks

June 11, 2006 -- 7:30 PM CDT

JONESBORO, AR -- Now that the hot and humid weather has approached Region 8, there's one thing people should look out for...ticks.

"Ticks are very common now," said Veterinarian Kevin Reed.  "They prefer the warm, moist weather.  The hot summer weather is when they really come out."

Dr. Reed said that now's the time to keep an eye out for the small Deer ticks that carry Lyme disease.

"Lyme disease is a bacterial disease that's transmitted by ticks to both people and dogs," said Reed.

The disease is not as prevalent in Northeast Arkansas as it is in other parts of the U.S., but there are other ticks to be aware of.

"In our area, mainly we're seeing the big engorged ticks that look like raisins when they're full of blood," said Reed.  "Those are the Brown Dog ticks, and then the hard bodied ticks are the American Dog tick."

Dr. Reed said that if you should find a tick on you or your dog, the sooner you can get it off...the better.

"Most of them require a period of attachment of at least 24 hours.  If you can find a tick on your dog or yourself, before it's been on there for more than a day, removing it usually will reduce the likelihood of the transmission of that particular disease."

He also said that people should be cautious when interacting with their pets, because if their pet has a tick then that increases their exposure to the tick.

"There's some good tick repellents for people.  Wearing light colored clothing sometimes helps just so you can see them better," he said.

Besides repellents, avoiding woods and tall grass also decreases the chances of coming in contact with ticks.