Fight the Bite to Avoid Illness
Spring, summer and fall are wonderful times of year in North Carolina, but with the warm weather come pesky ticks and mosquitoes.
Ticks and mosquitoes are more than just nuisances. Some species can carry diseases that have the ability to make people seriously ill.
Last year, North Carolina reported more than 450 cases of tick-borne diseases to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most were spotted fever-type illnesses, which include Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
There are simple, easy ways to ‘Fight the Bite’ while enjoying the outdoors this summer and fall. While outdoors, reduce your chance of bites by covering as much of your skin as possible by wearing long sleeves and pants. At home, you can take a few simple steps to reduce your chances of being bitten.
Make Your Yard Less Tick - and - Mosquito Friendly
Use Mosquito Repellent
- Keep grass short, and remove plants that attract animals such as deer and rodents;
- Pour out standing water, and remove containers that can hold water;
- Keep gutters clean and in good repair;
- Repair leaky outdoor faucets and change the water in bird baths and pet bowls at least twice a week; and
- Check window and door screens.
The CDC recommends several repellents against mosquitoes including: DEET, picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus. Most repellents are safe for use on children 2 months of age and up, except lemon oil of lemon eucalyptus, which should not be used on children under the age of 3. Don’t allow children to apply repellents themselves, and only use a small amount.
In addition, clothing may be treated with permethrin to repel and kill ticks and mosquitoes. Be sure to follow the label directions when applying repellents.
Proper and prompt removal of ticks is the key to preventing infection. Use fine-tipped tweezers to remove ticks, getting as close to your skin as possible and pulling steadily upward without twisting the tick. Note the date you removed the tick. If you become ill within three weeks, be sure to tell your physician you were bitten.
Other tips regarding ticks and tick removal include:
- Check yourself and your children often when outdoors and quickly remove any ticks. Pay particular attention to the nape of the neck, behind the ears, and the groin, which are favorite places for ticks to attach.
- Do not use matches, hot nails or Vaseline® for tick removal. They will not make a tick let go and may cause the tick to release diseased bacteria into the bitten area.
- After removing the tick, thoroughly disinfect the bite site and wash your hands with soap and water.
Consult your doctor if you become ill after a tick bite. Symptoms of Rocky Mountain spotted fever may include sudden onset of fever, headache and muscle pain, followed by development of a rash. Symptoms of Lyme disease may include a "bull's-eye" rash accompanied by nonspecific symptoms such as fever, malaise, fatigue, headache, muscle aches and joint aches.
For additional information on mosquitoes and ticks, visit the following websites: www.epi.state.nc.us/epi/arbovirus
How to Contact Us
For additional information about mosquitoes, please call 704-336-5101. To make a mosquito complaint, please call 704-336-5101 or submit your complaint online
Learn more about the Mecklenburg County Mosquito Control Program