Tick season has arrived in New Hampshire. Here’s what you need to know.

Tick (Via Getty Images)

Tick (Via Getty Images)

By Mrinali Dhembla

May 9, 2024

It’s tick season and “everyone is at risk of being bitten by a tick,” said Christin D’Ovidio, a project director at Tick Free NH, in an email to Granite Post. “That said, no matter where they live, everyone should feel empowered to safely enjoy all of the beautiful New Hampshire outdoors.”

Tick Free NH is a public-private partnership created to educate the public about how to prevent tick encounters and tick bites, and potentially prevent individuals from contracting tick-borne diseases.

Despite D’Ovidio’s advice, it’s important to exercise caution wherever you go, especially when out in nature, or near tall grass or bushy areas.

New Hampshire has one of the highest rates of Lyme disease in the country, according to data from 2022. Around 50-60% of blacklegged ticks sampled from across New Hampshire have been found to be infected with the bacterium that causes Lyme disease, D’Ovidio said.

“And Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire have experienced the largest increases in reported cases of Lyme disease since 1991,” she said.

How to prepare for the outdoors during tick season?

Here are D’Ovidio’s top three tips:

  • Wear protective clothing: Tuck pants into socks (ticks like to crawl), and wear light colors, long sleeves, shoes, and gear with permethrin.
  • Protect your skin: Use Environmental Protection Agency-recommended tick-repellents such as oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), DEET (15% – 30% ), IR3535 (10% – 30%), and Picaridin. Always check packaging before using on children.
  • Take precautions once back inside: Inspect, remove and shower (within 20 minutes of being outdoors).

Where to check yourself for ticks? (as per the CDC)

  • In and around the ears
  • In and around the hair
  • Inside the belly button
  • Under the arms
  • Around the waist
  • Between the legs
  • Back of the knees

Where to check your pets for ticks? (according to the CDC)

  • In and around the ears
  • Around the eyelids
  • Under the collar
  • Around the tail
  • Under the front legs
  • Between the toes
  • Between the back legs

What happens when you get bitten by a tick?

Tick bites don’t always cause serious issues, but can if left untreated. New Hampshire’s blacklegged tick (deer tick) can cause five different types of diseases, according to the New Hampshire Department of Human and Health Services. These include: Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, babesiosis, Powassan virus, and Borrelia miyamotoi.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, although most patients recover completely when treated with a 2- to 4-week course of oral antibiotics, about 5-10% can have prolonged symptoms. These include experiencing fatigue, body aches, or difficulty thinking following treatment.

If you get bitten by a tick, where in New Hampshire can you get tested for it?

If you find an attached tick, it is important to safely and quickly remove it with tweezers. Contact your healthcare provider or visit urgent care, and a provider may want to test for suspected infection, D’Ovidio said. You can send your tick to be tested for the presence of disease-causing bacteria.

Tick testing is available through TickReport.com, ECOLab, and TickEncounter.

Author

  • Mrinali Dhembla

    Based in Manchester, New Hampshire, Mrinali Dhembla is Granite Post's multimedia reporter. She's previously worked as deputy editor at The Keene Sentinel, and has experience writing for many national and international publications. When not doing journalism, she likes to cook food (and eat it).

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