What You Need To Know About Ticks, From Preventing Them To Treating Bites

7 min read
fairly easy
Read this if you plan on spending any time outdoors. Your body will thank you.
Not sure what to do (or if you even need to care) about ticks? This guide is for you. (Photo: Judita Juknele / EyeEm via Getty Images)

Warmer weather means more pesky insects we need to avoid, including ticks. Tick bites have been on the rise in recent years ― and there are a number of factors that likely contribute to this.

"Ticks thrive best in warmer conditions, so increasing temperatures, both in the summer and winter, may result in a greater number of ticks and tick bites," said Matthew Aardema, an assistant professor of biology atMontclair State University.

Growing deer populations in certain parts of the country have also likely led to a greater number of ticks. And a larger proportion of people spending time outdoors engaged in activities like hiking or gardening, which have become popular pandemic era de-stressors, is another contributor to the increase in tick bites.

An increase in tick encounters can cause things like Lyme disease, which is also on the rise. In 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 47,743 cases of tick-borne diseases. In 2019, the number rose to 50,865.

David Claborn, director of the Master of Public Health program at Missouri State University, said that in recent years, experts have been able to detect even more tick-borne diseases that were likely misdiagnosed in the past.

"For instance, in the southwest Missouri region, two viral diseases have been identified in the last 15 years: the heartland virus and the bourbon virus," he said. "These are not necessarily new viruses; we just know what to look for now and have sophisticated tools with which to identify them."

So how should you avoid tick bites, and what should you know about ticks in general? Here's a guide.

Where are ticks usually found?

"Ticks are found nearly everywhere with the exception of high mountains; however, they are most likely to be in areas with heavy brush and tall grass," Claborn said.

They are especially abundant, he added, in…
Nicole Pajer
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