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How to stay disease-free during tick season

Posted at 9:12 PM, Jun 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-04 00:12:53-04

There has been an increase in tick reports in San Luis Obispo County and many of them are known to carry diseases.

To avoid ticks, health experts suggest tucking your pants into your socks or checking for ticks after each walk.

San Luis Obispo resident Rachel Gerber says she’s made a habit out of checking for the insect. "We do tick checking, so we stop usually at the top of the hill and just like I check her body, check my body make sure we don’t have any ticks on us."

The ticks found in San Luis Obispo County that can lead to diseases are small and difficult to see, according to the health department. They’re typically found in woody or grassy fields and have the ability to attach to anyone, including pets.

Lyme disease is the most common disease carried by ticks in the area.

"The one that stuck with me, I found at home in the shower after a ride. If they are out for a while, they’ll dig in. It was pretty gross," said Ken Wellenkamp, an Arroyo Grande resident.

If you do find a tick on your body, San Luis Obispo County’s health officer Dr. Penny Borenstein says there’s a specific way to remove them.

"You want to take the ticks off your body carefully with sharp twisters and as close to the skin as possible, you want to get right down to the skin and pull slow and steady so not leaving any parts behind," Dr. Borenstein says.

If you don’t know how long a tick has been attached, you can contact your doctor for testing. Lyme disease creates a bulls eye rash around the bitten area.

"If gone untreated, they can spread within the body and cause lots of problems to other organs systems like the heart, the bones, joints, etc," Dr. Borenstein said.

A lot of ticks do not carry diseases. If they do, it has to be attached for at least 24 hours or more before actually transmitting a disease.