It’s tick season – be wary

The Western blacklegged tick (Ixodes pacificus). CDC photo

City of Arcata

ARCATA – Tick season is here, and the City of Arcata would like to remind the community to protect themselves and their pets. 

As the weather gets warmer and community members spend more time outdoors, the chance of being bitten by a tick increases.

Ticks are tiny bugs that attach themselves to the skin of people and animals and feed on their blood. While many ticks are not harmful, some can make you sick. The Western blacklegged tick (Ixodes pacificus) is the only tick found locally that can transit the bacterium that causes Lyme disease.

Avoiding tick bites is the easiest way to avoid tick-borne illness, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following precautions to prevent tick bites:

• Avoid wooded and bushy areas with high grass or fallen leaves, and stay on cleared paths and designated trails when you are out hiking.

• Wear protective clothing outdoors. If possible, wear light-colored, long-sleeved shirts and pants.

• Use tick repellents that contain 20 percent or greater DEET, picaridin, or IR3535 directly on exposed skin, and follow all product label instructions. Caregivers should apply repellents to children, avoiding hands, eyes and mouth.

• Always check for ticks on your body, clothing, and pets after spending time outdoors.

• Young ticks are very small (about the size of a poppy seed), so get help from a friend or family member in your household or pod to inspect those hard to reach areas.

• Check extra-carefully for ticks on areas of the body where hair is present.

• Speak to a veterinarian about the best tick-prevention methods available for your pets.

If you find a tick on yourself or a pet, please follow these steps:

• Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the surface of the skin as possible. Make sure the entire tick has been removed, including the head. Avoid pressing on the insect’s abdomen, and this increases the risk of transmitting the bacterium responsible for Lyme disease.

• Place the tick in a container that closes tightly, write down where the bite was located and the date when the tick was removed, and store it in the refrigerator. The tick could be useful if you develop symptoms of tick-borne illness.

• If you develop symptoms such as fever, chills, a rash at the site of the tick bite, or unusual aches and pains up to 30 days after experiencing a tick bite, consult your medical provider and let them know you were bitten by a tick. Bring the tick to your medical provider for testing. With an order from your doctor, the Humboldt County Public Health Laboratory will test the tick for the bacterium that causes Lyme disease.

For more information regarding ticks and other tick-borne diseases, please visit