Health Department discusses tick prevention, diseases

Southwest Georgians are beginning to take advantage of the spring weather with outdoor activities, but the Health Department wants people to be aware of ticks.

At a Dougherty County Health Department lunch on Friday, visitors learned about tick bite prevention and diseases caused by ticks.

Experts say to walk in the center of trails and stay out of the brush. They say showering within two hours of coming indoors after being outside reducing the risk of being bit by a tick. Wearing light-colored clothing to easily see ticks crawling on you helps too, the Center for Disease Control website says.

Tickborne illnesses include Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

To prevent ticks from getting into yards, pesticides for ticks (acaricides) are safe, relatively inexpensive and easy to apply, according to experts. Check with local health or agriculture officials to learn when the best time to apply acaricide is.

Repellents that contain 20 percent or more DEET can help protect skin from ticks for several hours.