Digital Exclusive: As more go outside, how to protect yourself from ticks

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – This time of year is perfect for people to go outdoors for a walk or a hike, but they need to be aware of a harmful insect.

Theresa Kruid, a naturalist at the Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center, said the tick season goes from April to June due to seeing more larva eggs.

“So, the eggs that were laid in late fall are hatching once the weather is warmer, and they are more active and going through their natural lifecycle,” said Theresa Kruid, Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center.

Cindy Lewin, a nurse practitioner at UnityPoint Clinic, said people who get bitten by a tick can have symptoms from three to 30 days afterward.

“You need to be cautious of ticks because if you do get a tick bite, it can cause Lyme Disease. Lyme Disease can cause problems in the future [such as] joint pains and other neurological complications,” said Cindy Lewin, ARNP, UnityPoint Clinic.

Kruid said dog and deer ticks are the ticks you’re most likely to come across in northwest Iowa. Still, she says, it’s important to protect yourself from all kinds of ticks.

“If you wear long sleeves and long pants, and you can even tuck your pants into your socks, that does help you to avoid having ticks climb and attach to you,” said Kruid.

People can also steer clear of tall grasses and plants and carry tick repellent when outside to keep safe. Lewin mentions if you think you’ve been bitten by a tick, look for a bullseye rash.

“So if they see a red round circle with a bullseye around it, then we will be concerned for it being infected with possible Lyme Disease. At that point, you need to be treated with antibiotics, and you need to follow up with your family provider to get started on antibiotics,” said Lewin.

When you’re done with being outside, it’s critical to inspect yourself for ticks. If you see a tick stuck on you, you need to remove the insect straight out with tweezers as soon as possible.

“They could be crawling on your legs. You want to check around your neck and your head; those are the warmest parts of our bodies, and that’s where ticks tend to move to and gravitate towards,” said Theresa Kruid, Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center.

Kruid mentions people also need to check the four-legged family members for ticks before they go indoors and have some repellent for them as well.

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