HELENA – While Montanans enjoy the great outdoors in spring and summer, state and local health officials are calling for recreational seekers to take a few simple steps to prevent tick bites and their diseases: limit, repel and inspect [1
State and local health authorities receive reports of tick-borne diseases each year, and nationally tick-borne diseases are on the rise. Commonly reported tick-borne illnesses in Montana include Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Lyme disease, tick-relapsing fever, tularemia and Colorado tick-borne fever.
In recent years, cases of Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia have increased in Montana. The tick that causes Lyme disease is not found in Montana. So far, cases reported in Montana have all been associated with travel to the Northeast and Midwestern United States.
Other tick-borne diseases that are thought to have been acquired outside the state include ehrlichiosis and babesiosis. All the diseases listed above can lead to serious illnesses.
Public health officials emphasize a three-step approach to preventing tick bites:
- LIMIT: Ticks live in wooded, bushy or grassy areas. So walk in the middle of paths and mow your property where you and your pets spend time.
- REPEL: Wear long, light pants and socks to help detect ticks and use insect repellent. These repellents, which contain up to 30 percent DEET, can be used on the skin or clothing. Repellents with lower DEET concentrations may need to be used more frequently. Permethrin repellents can be used on clothing but not on the skin. An application for pants, socks and shoes can be effective through multiple washes.
- CHECK: Carefully check your skin for ticks after returning from outdoor activities, especially if you are in wooded, bushy or grassy areas. Common hiding places for ticks are the scalp, beard, hollows, armpits, groin, neck and behind the ears. The best way to ignite clothes is to place the clothes in a dryer at high altitude for 10 minutes, even before washing.
The most common symptoms of tick-borne infections are fever and chills, pain and rash, and varying degrees of fever. Although most can be easily treated with antibiotics, these diseases can be difficult for doctors to diagnose. Early detection and treatment of the infection reduces the risk of serious complications.
People should seek medical attention immediately if they have been bitten by a tick and show symptoms.
If a tick is found and attached, follow these steps to safely remove the tick
- Use a fine point "tip" tweezer to capture the tick as close to the skin surface as possible.
- Pull up with even, even pressure. Do not pull or bite the tick; This can cause the mouthpieces to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouthpieces with tweezers. If you can not easily remove your mouth with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.
- After removing the tick, clean the bite area and your hands thoroughly with alcohol, an iodine scrub or soap and water
- Do not use folklore remedies, such as. For example, "stroking" the tick with nail polish or Vaseline, or use heat to peel the tick off the skin. These methods are not recommended and may cause the tick to dig deeper into the skin.
For more information on tick-borne diseases, protective and detection efforts, see the website