Tick invasion starts months earlier than normal in Georgia


POSTED: Saturday, April 7, 2012 - 7:00am

UPDATED: Saturday, April 7, 2012 - 7:04am

Though Dr. Nancy Hinkle of the University of Georgia is an expert on ticks, she said she is not one to solicit them.

This year, people started sending her ticks starting back in February, earlier than she expected.

Lonestar ticks are the most common in Georgia and they carry more disease-causing pathogens than cockroaches or mosquitoes.

These ticks normally peak in the summer, not now. But here they are in big numbers, in your backyard.

If you're headed to tick territory, Dr. Hinkle says to wear pants tucked into your socks and use spray with deet.

Make sure your pet is using flea medicine that also protects against ticks.

If you see a tick sucking your blood, don't touch it with your bare hands.

Don't twist it out.

That old advice is bad advice because you can break the tick's head off and cause infection at the site of the bite and make the spread of disease more likely.

Instead, grab it with tweezers near the head, slowly pull it out, and put it in a plastic bag in your freezer.

That way if you have symptoms later, severe headache, sore muscles, a rash, you'll be able to get the tick tested.

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