September 2, 2014

Despite colder weather, ticks still a concern for hunters

As the deer hunting season gets underway, state health officials are reminding hunters to watch out for ticks.

While ticks are most active in warmer weather, Jim Kazmeirczak with the state Division of Public Health says they can still pose a threat in the fall to hunters as they are waiting around the woods for deer to make an appearance. Even after a series of hard freezes, he says the insects will become active again if the weather warms up.

Kazmeirczak says the added layers of clothing hunters wear can reduce their risk of getting a bite, but he says they should still take precautions. In addition to covering exposed skin, he says hunters should be checking themselves thoroughly after they leave the woods each day. Ticks typically need to be attached for about 24 hours before they transfer any diseases they are carrying.

If you find an tick embedded in your skin, Kazmeirczak says you’ll want to use caution when removing them. Use a fine bladed pair of forceps or tweezers and grasp them as close to the skin as you can, applying slow and steady pressure until they pull out. He says folk remedies, such as petroleum jelly, nail polish remover, or burning matches, are not safe or effective ways to remove ticks.