IDPH Offers Tips To Avoid Tickborne Illness
SPRINGFIELD – As the weather warms up, more ticks are starting to appear. Illinois
Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director Nirav D. Shah, M.D., J.D., reminds residents about
the importance of taking precautions against tick bites and the diseases they carry.
“Ticks can carry diseases like Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and ehrlichiosis,”
said Director Shah. “A bite from a tick can cause anywhere from mild to severe illness, and
even death in some cases, so it is important to protect yourself against bites.”
Many tickborne diseases have similar symptoms. The most common symptoms of tick-related
illnesses can include fever, chills, aches and pains, and rash. Within two weeks following a tick
bite, if you experience a rash that looks like a bull’s-eye or a rash anywhere on your body, or an
unexplained illness accompanied by fever, contact your doctor. Early recognition and treatment
of the infection decreases the risk of serious complications. Tell your health care provider the
geographic area in which you were bitten to help identify the disease based on ticks in that
Ticks are commonly found on the tips of grasses and shrubs. Ticks crawl?they cannot fly or
jump. The tick will wait in the grass or shrub for a person or animal to walk by and then quickly
climb aboard. Some ticks will attach quickly and others will wander, looking for places like the
ear, or other areas where the skin is thinner.
Simple tips to avoid ticks bites include:
- Wear light-colored, protective clothing—long-sleeved shirts, pants, boots or sturdy shoes,
and a head covering. Treat clothing with products containing 0.5 percent permethrin.
- Apply insect repellent that contains 20 percent or more DEET, picaridin, or IR3535 on
exposed skin for protection that lasts several hours.
- Walk in the center of trails so grass, shrubs, and weeds do not brush against you.
- Check yourself, children, other family members, and pets for ticks every two to three
- Remove any tick promptly by grasping it with tweezers, as close to the skin as possible
and gently, but firmly, pulling it straight out. Wash your hands and the tick bite site with soap
Find more information at on the IDPH website.