The Skokie Health Department has seen an increase in the number of people who have contracted illnesses from ticks and mosquitoes over the last several years and there is an increase in tick illness again in 2019. A relatively mild winter and high rainfall have contributed to the increase in ticks this season. Ticks are small “bugs” that are found in grassy and wooded areas throughout the country, in Illinois and in Skokie. Ticks wait for a host animal—like a dog or a person—from the tips of grasses and shrubs. When brushed by a moving animal or person, they quickly let go of the vegetation and climb onto the host.
The best way to protect yourself and your family is to prevent tick bites. Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants and boots when in areas where ticks may be present. Residents should also use insect repellent, keep grass short and remove weeds on your property. Conduct frequent tick checks during and after outdoor activities, whether you’re in the forest preserve or woods, your cabin or camp site, or in your own backyard. Pay particular attention to checking children who play outside or are close to people and pets who are outside.
If you find a tick, don’t panic. Remove ticks on clothing or skin using tape or a lint roller. Embedded ticks can be removed with tweezers. If you become ill after a known tick bite, call your doctor.
More information on types of ticks from the Illinois Department of Public Health.