Cooler weather is here, bringing relief from many biting insects and other pests. While it’s the perfect time to enjoy outdoor activities, including hikes in the woods, don’t forget that ticks may still be active. Some ticks are active into the fall and late winter.
In Virginia, the blacklegged tick can carry Lyme Disease, Powassan Virus and several other illnesses that you may not have heard about. These diseases can cause severe illness and some could be fatal if they aren’t treated.
It’s important to take steps to keep ticks off your clothing when you are outside, especially if you go into a wooded area. Using tick-repellent, tucking your pant legs into boots or socks and tucking shirts into pants are a few ways to avoid ticks. It’s always a good idea to do a tick-check as well, and remove any ticks that you find on yourself as soon as possible.
Don’t forget to check your pets for ticks after they have been outdoors. Dogs can bring them inside and can get sick from the diseases they carry. Vaccines are not available for most of the diseases that dogs can get from ticks. Do keep up to date with your vet’s anti-tick, flea, and mosquito prescription to keep your animal healthy
There are several different types of ticks in Virginia that carry different diseases. The Virginia Department of Health has a tick activity dashboard and is asking citizens who find ticks on themselves to send them in to be identified as part of the Virginia Tick Survey.
Residents who find the ticks and want to send them in are also asked to fill out a brief survey. The information collected is being used to create maps that show which types of ticks are active around the state and their locations.
It also helps the VDH team learn more about the types of ticks that bite humans and keep everyone better informed.