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Preparation is key to warding off ticks as East Texas warms up

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Published: May. 3, 2022 at 6:15 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - As the weather warms up, people are getting outdoors and hitting the hiking trails among other activities - where they may encounter ticks.

KLTV 7′s Willie Downs spoke with the Texas Parks and Wildlife about preventative measures when enjoying nature.

Ticks are present throughout the year but tend to be more active during the Spring and Summer just as people are getting more active outdoors.

According to Ross Winton, invertebrate biologist with the Texas Parks and Wildlife, the most important thing to do is preparation.

“Knowing where the ticks are going to be, knowing that if you’re going through thick brush, if you’re going through an area where a lot of animals tend to congregate, their is a higher likelihood that you’re going to encounter ticks,” Winton said.

He also says that prevention through the use of repellents and wearing lighter clothing are important to minimize the chance of getting bit.

After returning home, before going indoors, Winton says to remove clothing so hitch hikers aren’t brought into the home, exposing indoor pets to ticks.

“It’s good to keep an eye on the wound because a lot of those diseases can present an external characteristics like the bullseye that you hear about in Lyme disease or anytime there’s an infection you’re going to have some kind of reaction so it’s always good to keep an eye on the bite,” Winton said.

However, he noted that just because a tick has bitten you does not mean they have started to suck blood. It may be hitching a ride until it’s ready to feed.

When getting outdoors, Winton reminds people to not forget about their pets joining them on the adventure.

“Using those preventative flea and tick medication is going to be the best proactive approach,” Winton said.

Winton said that while it’s good to be aware of ticks, he said they shouldn’t discourage anyone from getting outdoors.

“It’s not incredibly common and if you use prevention it’s going to dissuade those potential parasites from hitching a ride, so it shouldn’t discourage people from getting outdoors and enjoying opportunities to enjoy Texas during the spring and summer,” Winton said.

If you are bitten by a tick, it is advised that you remove the tick as quickly as possible with tweezers. Seek medical attention if you have any signs of infection around the wound.

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