(UNDATED) - Hoosiers aren't the only ones enjoying the recent warm up. Ticks are also thriving in the sunshine. Health officials are warning the outdoorsy to take extra care.
Ticks are a small, insect-like creatures which live throughout the state. They can carry diseases like Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Ehrlichiosis.
"All ticks should be considered infectious and capable of transmitting diseases, even though some are not," said Dr. Jennifer House, veterinary epidemiologist.
You can protect yourself by wearing a long-sleeved shirt and light-colored pants when going through grassy or wooded areas. It's important to tuck your shirt into your pants and your pants into your socks to cut off any entry points.
Insect repellents with DEEt or picaridin in them can also help repel ticks.
If you find a tick on you, there are certain steps you should take to remove the pest.
"They can be removed with either tweezers or forceps by grasping the tick as close to the skin as possible and pull upward with steady and even pressure without squeezing the tick," said House. "Don't remove ticks with fingers, but if tweezers or forceps are not available, you can use tissue paper or a paper towel to prevent the passing of any possible infection."
If you become ill after finding an attached tick, see a doctor immediately.
Lyme disease is often associated with a persistent, slowly expanding blotchy red rash which is usually fainter at the center than at the edges. Other signs and symptoms include joint pain, especially in the knees or weakness of the facial muscles.
The symptoms of Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Ehrlichiosis are similar. They include a moderate-to-high fever, coupled with fatigue, muscle aches and pains, severe headaches, and chills.
A rash may also develop shortly after disease onset, first appearing on the arms, legs, palms of the hand and soles of the feet before spreading to other parts of the body. The rash is not present in all cases.
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