A Press release by Ohio State University warns that the number of parasitic ticks is on the rise this summer and will continue to rise in the years to come. Experts say this is largely due to climate change and an increase in the number of hosts for ticks.
As temperatures warm, ticks from southern and western states may migrate to Ohio. Conditions during the summer months become more favorable for emerging earlier and living longer.
It also allows ticks to “overwinter” longer or survive the winter by sleeping. With increasingly warm winters, conditions for tick survival are easier.
Coupled with a large population of hosts, such as deer, for food, ticks have made it to Ohio according to experts.
“It’s like a perfect storm of events,” Dr Don Cipollini, professor of biological sciences at Wright State University, said. “Favorable environmental conditions associated with numerous hosts.
With the increase in the number of ticks comes an increase in the diseases they carry, such as Lyme disease. Also, some ticks, such as the Lone Star tick, can cause an allergy to red meat after a bite.
Despite the growing number of ticks that carry potentially dangerous diseases, Dr Cipollini says people shouldn’t be discouraged from going outside.
“You can take precautions to enjoy nature even in the presence of these things, as long as you know what to watch out for and are diligent about it,” he said. “Your education is your best weapon.”
Dr Cipollini urged people to be aware of their surroundings outdoors, especially in grassy or brushy areas. You can wear boots while hiking, tuck your pant legs into your shoes/boots in brushy areas, and use insect repellent and tick repellent.
The most important thing is to do a thorough check on yourself and your pets after being outdoors for an extended period of time. Dr. Cipollini said if you find a tick on yourself or your pets, grab it between your thumb and forefinger and pull steadily until it comes off. You can also use tweezers.
You can then put the tick in a container or Ziploc bag and store it in the refrigerator or freezer before quickly shipping it to your local health department to check for diseases. Start monitoring yourself for symptoms of diseases, about which you can learn more about the Ohio Department of Natural Resources or Ohio Department of Health websites.