A recent editorial by the Youngstown Vindicator:

It may seem a small matter — in some cases, a very small matter — but this year could be a banner year for an irritating and potentially dangerous parasite: ticks. Ohio State University Extension experts say both the tick population and, therefore, the diseases they spread are on the rise in the state.

“Ticks are extraordinarily adaptable and can travel on host animals,” said Tim McDermott, an educator with Ohio State University Extension. “Ticks expand when their habitat range expands due to global climate change. They take advantage of what they can take advantage of to move to new spaces. So now, every year going forward has the potential to be bad, and you should go into each tick season thinking about how you can keep you and your family tick-safe.”

If you have pets, make sure they are treated or collared with a repellent (for their own sake, and yours); and check them for parasites when they come into the house. Wash their bedding regularly, too.

Protect yourself as well, by wearing light clothing, applying tick repellent, doing frequent checks during and after outdoor activities; and knowing the best methods for removing an attached tick.

“Keep your yard mowed, and do not allow brush or leaf litter to accumulate,” McDermott said. “Remove brush, tall weeds and grass in order to eliminate the habitat of rodents and other small mammals, which serve as hosts for ticks as well as serve as prime tick habitat.”

Finally, if you have been exposed to a tick bite, don’t wait to call your doctor. “It’s very important to receive the appropriate treatment as soon as possible,” McDermott said.

Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever are just the start of what ticks can transmit. If this season is going to be booming for ticks, then we must be even more vigilant. Take the necessary precautions and avoid letting these tiny pests take a bite out of your summer.

— Youngstown Vindicator, June 5