American Dog Tick

Brown Dog Tick

Blacklegged Tick

Lone Star Tick

Ticks are small creatures that can spread diseases and make people sick. In Ohio, the most common types of ticks are the American dog tick, the black-legged tick (also known as the deer tick), and the Lone Star tick.

Ticks are a type of arachnid with round bodies and eight legs. They are more closely related to spiders than insects. Ticks are parasites that survive by sucking the blood of animals – mainly mammals and birds. They can pass on diseases when they bite, but not all ticks spread diseases.

Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) is a serious illness caused by bacteria.

Symptoms include:

  • Muscle and joint pain
  • fever, and red skin eruptions
  • A rash on the wrists and ankles and usually appears between the second and fifth day after infection and is the most consistent
    symptom of RMSF
  • lower back pain10
  • headaches
  • fatigue and high fevers ranging from 104 to 106 degrees

If you find a tick on you, remove it immediately and watch for symptoms.

RMSF can be serious but can be treated early with doxycycline, an antibiotic.

For more information on Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, visit the CDC’s website.

Lyme disease is more frequently reported in the northeastern United States. But, cases of Lyme disease in Ohio have been increasing in the last several years. The symptoms can vary and may look like other illnesses.

  • In most cases, a rash appears within a month after being bitten. The rash is usually a red ring at the bite spot but can appear in different places. The rash goes away within three weeks but can come back.
  • hives,
  • redness under the eyes, swollen eyelids, red eyes,
  • flu-like symptoms with swollen glands.

Taking antibiotics right away can lower the risk of getting long-lasting symptoms.

If Lyme disease is not treated, more symptoms can appear weeks or months after the bite. Some people may get arthritis in their larger joints; some have severe headaches, stiff necks, facial paralysis, weakness, and chest or limb pain. Chronic cases can have a mix of joint, heart, and nerve symptoms that develop months or even years later.

But it’s important to note where the tick bit you and watch for symptoms.

For more information on Lyme disease, visit the CDC’s website.

Ehrlichiosis symptoms are similar to RMSF symptoms and usually appear within 1 to 21 days after being bitten. Symptoms include

  • high fever
  • headaches
  • fatigue
  • muscle pain
  • vomiting and loss of appetite

About 20% of Ehrlichiosis cases also have a rash like RMSF.

Ticks can pass on bacteria that cause diseases like RMSF, Lyme disease, and Ehrlichiosis through their saliva while they’re biting. Finding and removing ticks immediately is important to prevent an infection.

For more information on Ehrlichiosis, visit the CDC’s website

If you have a tick on you

  • Be careful not to squeeze them because they could release bacteria
  • don’t touch the tick with bare hands
  • use fine-tipped tweezers
  • gently and firmly pull the tick straight out, as close to the skin as possible
  • afterward, clean the bite with soap and water and apply a disinfectant

Avoid twisting, crushing, or puncturing the tick during removal. Don’t use a hot match or try to burn it. If infected tick fluids come into contact with broken skin, the mouth, or the eyes, you can get sick.

To avoid tick bites:

  • Use EPA-registered insect repellents when outside
  • Treat your clothes, including pants, boots, and socks with products containing .5% permethrin before going outside
  • Stay away from areas with ticks (brushy areas and high grass)
  • Wear long clothes
  • Check your body and clothes for ticks regularly. Check pets for ticks daily
  • Remove any ticks you find immediately
  • Ask someone else to check you for ticks because they are hard to spot
  • To get rid of ticks once you have removed them, put them in oil or alcohol, stick them to tape, or flush them down the toilet

To control ticks:

  • Keep grass and brush short in places where people live. Ticks like to hide in tall grass, so cutting it decreases their hiding spots and makes the ground too dry to survive.
  • Prevent dogs from going into tick-infested areas. Check dogs regularly for ticks and wash their bedding often.