Virginia Gay Hospital and the Benton County Department of Public Health are recommending increased vigilance against tick bites. The Iowa Department of Public Health has issued new alerts for tick-borne diseases in Iowa as a result of increases in tick-related disease transmission. 
If you discover a tick on your body, remove it right away. Folk remedies, such as burning the tick with a match or covering it with petroleum jelly or nail polish, are not effective. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the following instructions for removing a tick:
  • Carefully grasp the tick by using tweezers to grip the tick by its mouthparts which are close to the skin. Do not squeeze the tick’s body.
  • Pull steadily directly away from your skin. Because removing the tick’s body is your main goal, don’t worry if its mouthparts break off in the process.
  • Clean the wound and disinfect the site of the bite.

The most common tick-borne disease is Lyme disease; 232 cases of Lyme disease were reported to IDPH in 2016. Not everyone who gets Lyme disease will have the same symptoms, but the best and earliest sign of infection is a rash that may appear within a few days to a month, usually at the site of the tick bite. The rash will first look like a small, red bump, then expand until it begins to look like a bull’s eye, with a red center and a red ring surrounding a clear area. It is important to contact your healthcare provider immediately if you develop this type of rash or develop flu-like symptoms within a month of having a tick bite or being in an area where ticks are present.  

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