Increase in ticks expected this summer

YAKIMA, WA - The Washington State Department of Health and several agencies are warning people to be extra cautious when going outdoors this summer. With the recent mild winter along with the earlier warmer temperature, Yakima health officials are saying there's a dramatic increase in ticks throughout the entire state. Warmer climates in the state have resulted in more vegetation… creating more food for bugs and fleas to live and thrive in.

"Its pretty prevalent to have an increase in ticks when there's not been a strong freeze or really cold snap," says Holly Myers, environmental health director for the Yakima Health District.

On average one tick nest is found throughout the state, five months in to 2018 environmental health specialists in the state have already found 5. Most ticks are found in grassy, brush-filled areas or dense wooded areas.

There are dozen of different types of ticks but in our area, most commonly seen are the American Dog Tick and the Rocky Mountain Wood Tick. Neither of those types carry Lyme disease. Not all ticks carry the disease, but experts do anticipate the number of people impacted by the disease to go up.

If you are concerned you've been bitten by a tick and don't know whether it has Lyme disease or not, it advised you bathe yourself within two hours of when you've been exposed. That decreases your chance of the tick actually embedding and connecting itself to you. If you are going to be outdoors, spray yourself, your kids, and your pets with tick repellent spray. Check your family, your pets, and yourself thoroughly for them, they normally appear as black dots on the skin. Sometime you may not even feel them. If you do find one attached, use tweezers to remove it. You can do so by removing as close to the affected skin as possible or as close to the tick's head, make sure to disinfect that area thoroughly after you remove it as well.