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The best ways to protect yourself from ticks

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As people explore the outdoors, it’s important to understand a possible danger as small as a poppy seed.

“We don’t want people to be afraid to go outside, but to be able to protect themselves and take precautions to avoid those tick bites. Knowing what ticks look like, knowing where they live, are just ways to protect yourself from bites,” said Breanna Adams, director of environmental health services at the Erie County Health Department.

Ticks can be found anywhere, but they are more common in wooded areas.

“He will climb on a blade of grass or a shrub, any vegetation that is inside the tree line. He’ll hang around the edge of that plant material with their legs extended and they’ll just lay there and wait,” said DCNR environmental education specialist Brian Gula.

Star tick, dog tick, and deer tick, also known as the blacklegged tick, are found in our area. Only the deer tick carries Lyme disease.

Repellents are just one way to protect yourself from ticks, in addition to wearing long pants, shirts, and socks. Also, check yourself in while you’re in the woods.

If you are bitten by a tick, the Erie County Health Department advises that you remove the tick as soon as possible by using tweezers to firmly pull the tick’s head in a steady, upward direction. Clean the bite area with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.

The Erie County Health Department offers free tick identification. To bring a tick for identification, place it in a plastic bag and bring it to 606 W. Second St. from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Please call 814-451-6740 for details.

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“We are happy to put it under a microscope, look at it here and let you know what type of tick it is and if it could carry Lyme disease or any other disease. We can tell, potentially, how engorged he is or how long he was able to feed on you,” Adams said.