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Peak tick season kicks off in Kentucky

Updated: May. 16, 2021 at 3:37 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The Commonwealth is heading into peak tick season, and if not prepared, you can get sick.

Ticks are a problem year-round, but especially during the summer, they can be a problem for people and pets.

“Ticks in Kentucky pop up from May through July. We see a lot of overlap between the major species like a Black Deer tick, the Lonestar tick, and the American dog tick,” said Dr. Johnathan Larson, extension entomologist at the University of Kentucky. “So this is when we will be seeing people picking off from themselves for the next few months.”

Dr. Larson says some of these ticks in Kentucky carry Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and a disease that causes a meat allergy.

“Ticks do like the great outdoors. They like to be in the woods, they also like to be in your local park, they will be at your dog park, they will be on the walking trail- anywhere the vegetation is kind of tall,” Dr. Larson said.

It’s important to make sure you remove the tick in a proper way or you can still get sick.

“There are lots of home remedies for tick removal, sometimes, of course, people tell me about pouring alcohol over the top of it, or using a hot match, or a candle to try and get it off of it. I’ve even met people that have used bourbon, which I think is a waste of the Kentucky spirit, " Dr. Larson said.

The best thing to do is to get a pair of tweezers and gently remove the head, before clearing out the rest of the body. It is also important to remove the legs too.

“You don’t want to yank, cause you don’t want to snap any bits of tick off into you which can lead to an infection. If you pour those other things...essential oils and alcohol or try to burn the tick while it’s plugged into you, it actually increases the possibility of disease transmission because it could induce the tick to vomit into you,” said Dr. Larson.

It is also important that if you are bitten by a tick to preserve the body after you remove it. Experts test it for the disease it may have been carrying if you do get sick.

Unfortunately, while there are no good ways to avoid ticks, use insect repellent and wear long sleeves to avoid contact.

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