June and July are peak tick months in Central Virginia even though ticks bite any time of the year. Ticks are in greater numbers at this time because of a mild winter, according to tick experts. Residents are encouraged to be careful because some ticks carry diseases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says tick disease cases have increased by 25 percent. The most common tick-related illness is Lyme disease.
Virginia Commonwealth University professor and researcher Dr. Richard Marconi was inducted into the American Academy of Microbiology because of his dedication to treating and preventing tick-borne illnesses. Dr. Marconi says he has received more tick-related calls in the past few weeks than he has in the past.
Recommendations from Dr. Marconi
Dr. Marconi recommends the following:
- Use tick repellent.
- Treat your house for ticks.
- Treat your yard for ticks.
- Vaccinate your animals against tick-related diseases.
- Don't panic if you get bitten by a tick.
- Gently remove a tick using a pair of fine-point tweezers.
- Save the tick in rubbing alcohol.
- Monitor the tick bite area.
Dr. Marconi gives reason for saving the tick that bit you.
"I would recommend that you then store [the tick] in rubbing alcohol and just hold on to it. The reason you want to save the tick is because it could be helpful later, for a clinician or someone else to identify the type of tick in order to assess the potential that may exist for developing a certain type of tickborne disease."
Dr. Marconi also suggests that you monitor the tick bite area and look for the development of an expanding rash, or a "Bullseye rash." That might be a possible indication of Lyme disease.