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San Luis Obispo health department warns of increased summer ticks, shares safety tips


During the spring and summer, ticks are more likely to bite and spread Lyme disease.

Western black-legged tick nymphs are about the size of a poppy seed, making them hard to see. With more people outdoors, the San Luis Obispo County Department of Public Health warns that these smaller ticks pose a greater risk of spreading disease than adult ticks.

Ticks are often found in areas with trees, bushes, tall grass and rocks.

To protect against bites, the California Department of Public Health recommends using insect repellent on clothes and exposed skin and wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants.

Ticks usually need to be attached for at least 24 hours to spread Lyme disease. Signs of the disease include a red, painless rash that looks like a bullseye.

To remove a tick, the SLO Health Department advises using tweezers or forceps to grasp the tick's mouthparts as close to the skin as possible. Then, gently pull the tick straight out and place it in a small sealed ziplock bag or clean plastic jar with a lid.

Cleaning the bite area with soap and water afterward is also recommended.

People in San Luis Obispo can submit ticks to the Public Health Laboratory on Johnson Ave.

KCBX Reporter Amanda Wernik graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo with a BS in Journalism. Amanda is currently a fellow with the USC Center for Health Journalism, completing a data fellowship that will result in a news feature series to air on KCBX in the winter of 2024.
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