As the summer moves into full swing, Arlington residents should plan to take extra precautions to prevent and respond to tick bites.
Ticks are more active in warm weather, according to the Virginia Department of Health, and bites can cause illnesses like Lyme disease.
A new tip sheet from the county recommends four steps you can take to limit your exposure to tick bites:
- Use an appropriate insect repellent
- Wear long sleeves, long pants, socks and hats, especially in grassy, brushy or wooded outdoor areas
- Shower within two hours of being outdoors
- Tumble dry clothes on high heat for 10 minutes after coming inside
Between 2000 and 2016, reported cases of Lyme disease in Arlington County fluctuated from a maximum of 34 to a minimum of two. Although there were just five Lyme disease cases reported in Arlington in 2016, down from 24 in 2015, the number of all disease cases from tick bites nationally doubled between 2004 and 2016.
Virginia is also among 14 states mostly clustered along the East Coast in which 95 percent of confirmed cases of Lyme disease occurred in 2015, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Bites linked to Lyme disease can often be identified from three days to several weeks after the bite via flu-like symptoms and a red, circular rash at the bite site. For help identifying a tick, contact the Arlington County Office of Virginia Cooperative Extension at 703-228-6400.
Photo via Wikimedia Commons