A mild winter likely means a higher prevalence of ticks in the Palmetto State this summer.
University of South Carolina research professor Mark Macauda told South Carolina Radio Network that ticks can carry diseases such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and ehrlichiosis. “Different species of ticks carry different disease,” he said.
“Humans are at different risks, depending on the disease,” Macauda said. “Avoiding tick bites is definitely something that you want to do given the variety of diseases that they can carry.”
Properly dressing for outdoor activities can prevent ticks from attaching. “Wearing long pants and socks in places where you’re going to be where you might pick up a tick is a good idea,” he said. “Wearing light colored clothing so you can see them is advisable because ticks tend to be kind of dark.”
If you discover a tick embedded in your skin, remove it quickly wih either a tick removal device or a set of tweezers. Use the tweezers to grasp the insect as close as possible to the skin. Pull straight up without twisting the tick or any manuever which risks rippiing its head off below your skin. Clean the bite site with soap and water and save the tick for testing.
Most ticks are harmless, but lab tests can determine if the biting insect is carrying a potentially serious disease.