With spring here, and temperatures warning up, the Erie County Health Department offered information on how to avoid tick bites during a briefing Thursday.

The skin burrowing pests can carry harmful disease like Lyme disease.

Black-legged ticks or deer ticks are the size of poppy seeds and often go undetected due to their size.

However, Erie County residents can continue to enjoy the outdoors by taking the following precautions:

  • Treat clothes and shoes with permethrin insecticide. Permethrin remains effective through several washes.
  • Insect repellent. Use skin repellents with DEET or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus. Natural repellents may not work as effectively or may require additional applications. Check manufacturer's instructions.
  • Check for ticks. Take extra precaution in wooded or brushy areas with high grass and leaf litter. Walk in center of trails. Before returning indoors, check your entire body using mirrors for tough-to-see places. Ticks often attach to warm, dark areas, including under the arms, in and around the ears, behind the knees, around the hairline, around the waistline and between the legs. Place clothes in dryer and tumble dry.
  • Keep watch for signs and symptoms of tickborne illnesses. If you develop symptoms within several weeks of a tick bite, contact your healthcare provider.

Anyone who is bitten by a tick should remove it as soon as possible by using tweezers to pull on the head of the tick  and clean the bite area with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.

The Erie County Health Department also offers free tick identification services. People are asked to place the tick in a plastic bag and bring it to 606 W. Second St. between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. weekdays.