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Summit County Officials Describe Status of Early 2021 Tick Season

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

While the Summit County Health Board is usually focused on COVID-19, it also discussed the current tick season at its recent meeting.


Summit County Councilor Roger Armstrong is a liaison to the Health Board. Reporting later to his County Council colleagues, he reviewed what you should do in case of a tick bite, or how to avoid one.


“If you get bit by a tick, carefully remove it with tweezers, pulling it straight out gently to get the head out,” he said. “If it’s embedded, and you can’t get the head out, you should probably call your health practitioner. Better to wear long pants, long sleeves if you’re going to be out.”


Summit County Environmental Director Nate Brooks, told the board about the conditions that he believes led to the problem.


“But it was a shorter winter, drier winter, and I think we’ve all been cooped up for the last year,” Brooks said. “So I think a lot of us—actually I just went camping this weekend. And I can tell you the mountains are full of people. People are getting out and we’re trying to get away from more people. So we’re getting into more remote areas. And I think that’s why we’re seeing the increase.’


He also discussed how the continued drought will affect the issue.


“It actually does not proliferate,” he said. “It actually will slowly impede the process as far as the number of ticks that are reproducing. But I think through the dry spring that we had, I think they’re out sooner, and I think they’re out more in numbers. But as the heat comes on, and dryer conditions, they should back off more, end of July, end of August, somewhere in there.”


Brooks has advised citizens that when you get back from roaming in the outdoors, you should check yourself physically, perhaps take a shower, and also check your dogs if they’ve been with you.


Board Chairman Chris Cherniak added one particular reason to be careful.


“These things are really small. Most of the time, you don’t even know they’re on you.”


Brooks described the symptoms if you believe you’ve been bitten by a tick.


“At the bite site, you’ll kind of see a small halo around the bite,” he said. “And it will become inflamed. And then you’ll move into the fever, chills, aches, body aches. I think it’s Colorado tick fever, you may experience some type of leg paralysis if you wait. So it’s best if you feel any of these symptoms or see the halo around the bite mark, that you see your physician so that you can get started on an antibiotic.”

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