Fight the Bite: Ticks and Mosquitoes
Spring, summer and fall are wonderful times of year in North Carolina, but with the warm weather come pesky ticks and mosquitoes. The health department wants you to remember the easy ways to 'Fight the Bite’ from ticks and mosquitoes while enjoying the outdoors.Ticks and mosquitoes are more than just nuisances. Some carry germs that can make people seriously ill.
Click here to watch our Fight the Bite commercial
Mosquito-borne illesses include:
- West Nile Virus
Click here to learn more about mosquito-borne illnesses.
Tips to reduce exposure mosquito bites and illness:
- Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants and socks.
- Wear insect repellent registered with the Environmental Protection Agency. When used as directed, EPA-registered insect repellents are proven safe and effective, even for pregnant and breast-feeding women.
- Keep playground equipment away from yard edges and out from under trees.
- Using air conditioning or making sure windows and door screens are in place and without holes.
Tips to reduce mosquito habitats and breeding grounds:
- "Tip and Toss" - make sure that containers are tipped over to empty excess water. Mosquitoes can breed in an area as small as a plastic bottle cap.
- Clean up leaves and debris around your property.
- Remove leaves and debris from your gutters.
Click here to watch our short video about how to minimize mosquito breeding grounds and protect yourself from these biting pests.
Tick-borne illnesses include:
- Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
- Lyme Disease
- STARI (Southern tick-associated rash illness)
Click here to learn more about tick-born illnesses.
Tips to reduce tick bites and illness:
- Wear light colored clothing to spot ticks easier
- Prompt removal of ticks lessens the likelihood of infection
- Cover as much of your skin as possible
- Tuck you pant legs into your socks and tuck in your shirt tail
- Use a repellant containing DEET or permethrin (Follow directions when using repellant)
- Treat pets' kennels and indoor bedding for ticks (Talk to your vet about the best products)
Tips to reduce tick habitats:
- Keep grass short
- Remove plants that attract animals such as deer and rodents
- Reduce leaf litter under trees to decrease humidity and reduce breeding sites
- Talk to your vet about treatments for your pets
- Reduce shade in your yard and move play equipment to sunny areas
- Use gravel or other dry mulches to keep ticks from traveling into well-used areas
Remember, prompt tick removal helps prevents infection
Check yourself, your children and your pets at least every six hours. Quickly remove any ticks. Pay particular attention to the nape of the neck, behind the ears, and the groin, which are favorite places for ticks to attach.
Use fine-tipped tweezers or shield your fingers with a tissue, paper towel, or rubber gloves. Click here to watch a video about proper tick removal.
Grasp the tick as close to the skin surface as possible and pull upward with steady, even pressure. Do not twist or jerk the tick; this may cause the mouthparts to break off and remain in the skin. Do not squeeze, crush, or puncture the body of the tick.
After removal, disinfect the bite site and wash hands with soap and water.
Note the date you removed the tick and save it in case you become ill. This may help your doctor make a correct diagnosis. Place the tick in a plastic bag and put it in your freezer or drop it in a small container of alcohol.
If you have any signs or symptoms of tick-borne disease in the month following a bite, get medical help. Symptoms of Rocky Mountain spotted fever include sudden onset of fever, headache, and muscle pain, followed by development of rash. Symptoms of Lyme disease include "bull's-eye" rash accompanied by nonspecific symptoms such as fever, malaise, fatigue, headache, muscle aches, and joint aches.
How can I find more information?
- Zika Virus
- West Nile Virus
- NC DHHS Epidemiology Section
- Centers for Disease Control - Stop Ticks
- NC Cooperative Extention
- TIC - NC