Start of tick season prompts advisory

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Tick season prompts advisory
Graphic courtesy of the East Bay Regional Park District.

The East Bay Regional Park District is advising parkgoers to be wary of ticks throughout the spring, summer and fall.

Ticks carry germs that can cause diseases including Lyme disease, which is transmitted via a tick bite and can persist in the body for years if not treated early and properly. Visit bayarealyme.org for more information.

The western black-legged tick is the major carrier of Lyme disease in California. Adult females are reddish brown with black legs, about an eighth of an inch long, while the males are smaller and entirely brownish black. Both are teardrop shaped. 

Most ticks cannot fly or jump. They wait on the tips of grasses and in shrubs along well-used path, according to parks officials. With their front legs outstretched, they easily climb aboard unsuspecting hosts when they brush by.

To prevent their bites, wear long pants, long sleeves and closed-toe shoes; tuck your shirt into your pants, and your pants into your socks; check yourself and loved ones thoroughly for ticks; keep children and pets nearby; and stay on the trails and avoid brush and grassy areas.

If you are bitten by a tick, pull the tick gently from the skin using a tissue or tweezers, not with your bare hands. Scrape and remove any mouthparts left behind. A credit card can be used to do this. Wash your hands and the tick bite with soap and water and apply antiseptic.

Park officials recommend those who have a tick attached to their skin or have symptoms to see a physician immediately. Early symptoms may include a spreading rash accompanied by fever, aches, and/or fatigue.

Download the Park District’s Living with Ticks brochure and find additional information at ebparks.org/safety/wildlife-encounters.