Arkansans plan to enjoy the outdoors during the coming summer months, the Arkansas Department of Health stresses the importance of taking precautions against ticks and mosquitoes and the diseases they can carry.
Arkansas has some of the highest rates in the nation for tick-borne diseases, such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Lyme disease, Heartland virus and other diseases carried by ticks.
Mosquitoes in Arkansas can carry West Nile Virus and other less common diseases. Arkansans traveling within or outside of the country should educate themselves on the specific concerns ticks or mosquitoes may pose on their trip. Diseases, such malaria and yellow fever are more common outside of the United States.
Some of these diseases can be fatal. Some can be difficult to diagnose and treat. If someone does get a tick bite, he should be on the lookout for symptoms such as fever, chills, rash, fatigue and aches and pains within the next few weeks following the bite.
If he experiences these symptoms, it is important to see a medical provider quickly.
Whether in the back yard or on a trip, Arkansans should protect themselves from these diseases by preventing tick and mosquito bites. Tick and mosquito bites can be prevented in similar ways:
- Use an EPA-approved insect repellent as directed.
- Use permethrin on your clothing as directed.
- Wear long sleeves and pants. Light-colored clothing makes it easier to spot ticks. Tuck your pants into socks or boots.
- Check for ticks on children and pets regularly. Remove ticks quickly if one is found.
- To avoid ticks, walk in the middle of a hiking trail or path. Avoid tall grass and leaf litter.
To reduce mosquitoes around the home, residents should get rid of any standing water on their property. Mosquitoes can breed in as little as a bottle cap full of water.
It is important to remove ticks correctly if found. Remove ticks by positioning tweezers as close to the skin as possible and lifting up on the tick firmly. Do not twist or jerk the tick or use home remedies such as petroleum jelly, heat or waiting for the tick to fall off. These methods can increase the chance that a tick may transmit a disease.