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INDIANAPOLIS – Warm weather is finally arriving in Indiana, but as Hoosiers start taking advantage of the arrival of spring, so are ticks. State health officials are cautioning people to protect themselves from ticks as they spend more time outside.
Ticks are small, insect-like creatures often found in naturally vegetated areas or woodlands throughout Indiana. Ticks can transmit illnesses such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Last year, Indiana confirmed 63 cases of Lyme disease, two cases of Rocky Mountain spotted fever and 19 cases of Ehrlichiosis.
If planning to enter a grassy or wooded area where ticks are often present, the best way to prevent tick-transmitted diseases is to wear a long-sleeved shirt and light-colored pants, with the shirt tucked in at the waist and the pants tucked into socks. The use of repellents provides even more protection.
Insect repellents containing DEET or picaridin can be sprayed on both skin and clothing to repel ticks and other insects. People who expect to be exposed to ticks for extended periods of time should use products containing permethrin on their clothing, but not on bare skin. Permethrin is an insecticide that kills ticks and other insects on contact.
After leaving a grassy or wooded area, people should check for ticks on clothing and skin.