Health officials warn of tick season ahead of holiday weekend
COLUMBIA- May is known for Mother’s day, Memorial Day and in Missouri, the start of tick season.
“May, June and July are our prime months for tick-borne illness in Missouri," said Dr. Randall Williams, director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.
DHSS said the warmer weather causes ticks to be more active. The department advises anyone going outdoors this weekend to take precaution against the tiny insects.
The Lone Star tick, American Dog tick and the Deer Tick are the three main ticks found in Missouri. All three of them are brownish colored, but they vary in size.
Kurt Mirtsching encounters ticks all the time. He said sometimes he has to deal with the insects multiple times a week.
“I’m probably a little bit careless with it because I just grew up with it. But it would be a very good idea to be a little bit more cautious and do the things that the experts say,” Mirtsching said.
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services advises people going out this weekend to use insect repellent with at least 20% DEET. Officials recommend checking for ticks while outside and again when you get back in, and change clothes is possible.
If a tick is found, use tweezers to pick them off. After discarding the tick, people should wash their hands and the bite with soap and water.
Dozens of tick borne diseases have already been reported in 2018. The DHSS reports 37 cases of Rocky Mountain spotted fever and 14 cases of ehrlichiosis throughout Missouri.