Save that tick! Why experts suggest keeping the tick that bites you

Posted at 7:24 AM, Jun 05, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-05 07:24:38-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Tick season is underway in Central Virginia. Tick experts said they're seeing ticks in greater numbers this year due to a mild winter in the region. That means it's more important than ever to be aware of how to avoid potentially disease-carrying tick bites.

The number of tick disease cases jumped 25 percent from 2011 to 2019, according to the CDC. The most common tick-related illness is Lyme disease.

VCU professor and researcher Dr. Richard Marconi, who was inducted into the American Academy of Microbiology for his dedication to treating and preventing tick-borne illnesses, said he's received more calls in the past few weeks regarding ticks than he has in years past.

While June and July are peak tick months in Central Virginia, Marconi said ticks bite any time of the year.

He suggested using tick repellent, treating your home and yard for ticks, and vaccinating your animals against tick-related diseases.

If you get bitten by a tick, Marconi said not to panic. He said to gently remove the tick using a pair of fine-point tweezers.

"I would recommend that you then store [the tick] in rubbing alcohol and just hold on to it," Marconi said. "The reason you want to save the tick is because it could be helpful later, for a clinician or someone else to identify the type of tick in order to assess the potential that may exist for developing a certain type of tickborne disease."

Dr. Marconi added you'll also want to monitor the tick bite area and look for the development of an expanding rash, or a "Bullseye rash."

He said that would indicate the possibility of Lyme disease.

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