Jackson County, Ore. — As temperatures heat up, you’ll most likely be spending more time outside, which means it’s a good time to be aware of ticks.
Jackson County Vector Control says its seen more ticks than usual this year.
Biologist Jim Lunders says the Rogue Valley has more ticks than anywhere else in Oregon.
But there are certain precautions you can take to prevent yourself from getting bitten.
“It’s serious… There’s a lot of things that the ticks can do that make you pretty ill,” Ashland resident Kathleen said.
After a recent encounter with ticks, Ashland resident Kathleen has been educating herself on the pesky blood-sucking arachnids.
“Once they get into you, they can get really big… Like 300 times their size,” Kathleen said.
They may be small, but their impact can be deadly.
Kathleen says her friend contracted lyme disease from ticks brought into her house by her dogs.
“She’s about my age… And she has a really hard time with it,”
The threat of lyme disease is one reason why Jackson County Vector Control wants to make sure everyone is aware of ticks.
Biologist Jim Lunders says you’ll often find them in areas with lots of trees, dry brush, and even grass.
“They’ll be actually on the grass on the edge of the trails that’s hanging over the trails… Sitting there waiting for you to pass by,” Lunders said.
Not all ticks have lyme disease, but there is a presence in Jackson County.
And Lunders says this year they’ve seen more ticks than usual.
There are certain things you can do to prevent yourself from getting lyme disease. First, you’ll want to make sure you’re wearing repellent — one that’s EPA approved — Next you’ll want to check for ticks daily and get in the shower as soon as you get home, and finally, if you find yourself with a fever or a rash several days or even weeks after getting a tick bite, you’ll want to check in with your doctor
When it comes to removing a tick from your skin, it’s important to remove it properly with a pair of tweezers.
“You never want to use anything hot, or put any substance on them to make them back out. All that does is make them regurgitate their stomach contents back into you, and increase your likelihood of infection,” Lunders said.
Lunders says it takes at least 24 hours for a tick to spread a disease to you, so if you find it early your chances of survival, are much higher.
“If it’s not taken care of early, you may have symptoms for the rest of your life,” Lunders said.
According to Lunders, ticks look for skin-exposed areas where you most likely won’t find them like in your armpits, the groin area, or the back of your neck.
NBC5 News Multimedia Journalist Elizabeth Ruiz was raised in Northern Colorado. She graduated from Colorado State University with a degree in Journalism and Media Communication. She also minored in Spanish and studied in Spain. While at Colorado State, she was an anchor and reporter for CTV Channel 11.
Elizabeth loves Zumba dancing, singing and spending time with her family.