Oklahomans Should Be Aware of Ticks, Diseases - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Oklahomans Should Be Aware of Ticks, Diseases

OK- Oklahoma continues to rank among those states with the highest rate of three types of tickborne illness in the U.S. each year-- Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF), ehrlichiosis and tularemia.

Oklahomans are at highest risk of tickborne illness from May to August when ticks are most active. Since 2012, there have been approximately 2,000 cases of RMSF, ehrlichiosis, and tularemia among Oklahoma residents. In the past five years, four Oklahomans (two adults and two children) died due to tickborne diseases.

The OSDH advises to prevent tick bites by following the tips below:

  • Wear light-colored clothing to make ticks easier to see.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants tucked into socks to prevent ticks from attaching.
  • Wear closed-toe shoes, not sandals.
  • Hikers and bikers should stay in the center of trails to avoid grass and brush.
  • Check for ticks at least once per day, particularly along waistbands, the hairline and back of the neck, in the armpits and in the groin area.
  • Remove attached ticks as soon as possible using tweezers or fingers covered with a tissue.
  • Use an insect repellent containing 20 percent or more DEET, picaridin, or IR3535 on exposed skin for protection which lasts several hours.
  • Use products containing 0.5 percent permethrin only on clothing and gear, such as boots, pants and tents. Permethrin should not be used on the body.
  • Check with a veterinarian about tick control for pets. Dogs and cats can get tickborne illnesses too, and they are a vehicle for bringing ticks into a home if not on a tick-preventive regimen. 

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