It might seem like ticks are a spring and summer problem, but it’s also important to take steps to prevent tick bites when you are outside on mild fall and winter days, especially if you live in the Midwest or Northeast.
Just 13 states in those regions accounted for 96 percent of the nation’s reported Lyme disease cases last year, updated Centers for Disease Control statistics show. Those states are Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin.
There were 24,364 confirmed cases of the deer tick-borne disease across the country last year, more than in 2010 but still down from a high of nearly 30,000 in 2009.
To help protect yourself from bites, consider these prevention tips:
*Avoid tall grasses, shrubs, leaf litter and other areas ticks like. Use insect repellants that will protect you and your pets.
*Keep grass short in yards and avoid ungroomed areas.
*Wear long clothing to prevent ticks from getting to your skin.
*Check yourself, your children and your pets after spending time outdoors.
*Stay on trails when hiking. If you leave the path, wear long pants tucked into your socks.
*Remove any ticks you find right away. Use force and pinch the tick near its mouth parts, pulling the tick out slowly in a continuous motion. Don’t twist it, which may leave mouth parts embedded in the skin.