And by these guys, I mean ticks. Warmer weather is here and Winnebago County is already seeing an increased number in Lyme Disease cases over last year's numbers.

If you've looked at the forecast (or even your own thermometer) you've probably noticed that it's quickly turning into summer around here. Ticks can be a year-round problem, but with more and more people spending increased amounts of time outdoors, we run a far better chance of a tick encounter because they are more active in warmer months—especially April through September. Ticks live in and near wooded areas, tall grass and weeds, and where the ground is covered with leaves. Ticks can carry Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

To protect against tick bites and the diseases they can spread, the Winnebago County Health Department advises you to take these steps:

  • Keep your grass mowed and control weeds around your home
  • Remove leaf litter.
  • Clear tall grasses and brush around your home and at the edge of your lawn.
  • Wear a white or light-colored long-sleeved shirt and long pants tucked into your socks or boots when you’re outdoors.
  • Wear a hat or head covering for added protection.
  • Check for ticks on your clothing often.
  • Apply insect repellent containing DEET to your clothes and exposed skin (except the face and hands).
  • Walk in the center of trails to avoid leaf litter and tall grass
  • Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors (preferably within two hours) to wash off and more easily find ticks that are crawling on you.
  • Check for ticks on children, pets and yourself when returning from outdoors. If you find a tick, remove it right away by using fine-point tweezers to gently pull it straight out.
  • After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.

Winnebago County residents with questions about ticks may call the Health Department at (815)720-4000. More information is available on tick-borne diseases and prevention at:
www.cdc.gov/ticks/