Ohio Department of Health warns of tick-borne diseases as summer approaches

Ohio Department of Health warns of tick-borne diseases as summer approaches

(Toledo News Now) - As spring settles in and temperatures rise bugs and critters are starting to reappear, which means ticks and the possibility of Lyme disease should be back on your radar.

The Ohio Department of Health says cases across the state continue to increase and they want the public to be aware so they can prevent tick-borne diseases that typically occur in the spring and summer.

They have even sent out a letter to county health departments across the state.

“We want to make sure people understand these ticks can be out there and could cause problems such as Lyme disease,” said Eric Zgodzinski, Director of Community and Environmental Heath at the Lucas County Health Department.

He says these creepy, crawly, eight-legged bugs are usually lurking outside in wooded or grassy areas and more are popping up every year.

“We've had an increase in tick numbers because there are such a high number of ticks being reported. Now again, we didn't see Lyme disease being reported in Lucas County last year so that's a good thing. But it doesn't mean we're going to keep going on that trend,” said Zgodzinski.

He says, more specifically, the black legged ticks growing across the state are linked to Lyme and other diseases. The good thing is Lucas County had no reported Lyme disease exposures in 2014.

“Just because you got a tick on you doesn't mean you're going to get a disease. But then, if you do have a tick and you're concerned, talk to your doctor. They're going to be able to tell you what to do and how to do it. Lyme disease can be treated with an antibiotic,” said Zgodzinski.

He says the secret to avoiding the chance of tick-borne disease is to check yourself and your pet every time you spend some time outside. The sooner you remove a tick from your skin, the less likely your chance of infection.

To get a better handle on the tick situation the Lucas County Health department plans to launch a program to learn what kind of ticks are present and test some to see what diseases they are carrying.

For more information on ticks, from symptoms of bites to how to remove one

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