BOISE, Idaho — If you've been out on walks or hikes, you've probably noticed it's that time again - tick season.
“This is the time when ticks that have been dormant all winter are starting to come back out and their eggs are starting to hatch and they're ready to start taking blood meals and reproduce on their own,” said Dr. Alix Mcgrath, the director of shelter medicine at the Idaho Humane Society.
With so many Idahoans spending their time outdoors, it's something not only pet owners should be aware of.
“Ticks pray on any warm-blooded animal, humans included, so absolutely our dogs that accompany us on trails, even our outdoor cats that might be kind of hanging around outside your house or in the foothills, any mammal really kind of have ticks to worry about,” McGrath said.
So, what do you do if you encounter a tick?
“If you catch them before they bite all you have to do is brush them off, pick them off with tweezers things like that, however, if they've already bitten meaning their head parts are buried in the skin, it's a little more difficult and you want to take more care," McGrath said. "They do sell what's called a tick hook and what it is, a hook that you can use and it'll pull the tick out.”
If you don’t have one of those, you can also use tweezers. Also, make sure you get the entire tick out. McGrath adds, if you leave part of it, it can cause some irritation and can eventually spread diseases.
“The wood tick transmits other diseases like the Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia and even a disease called tick bite paralysis,” he said.
However, those are uncommon in Idaho but it's a good reminder to check yourself and your pets for ticks after being outdoors. Also, when it comes to Lyme disease, which is associated with the deer tick, McGrath told KTVB that's a tick that's relatively rare here in the Gem State.
To help prevent tick bites experts say use bug spray that is registered with the EPA and contains DEET. Also, stay on cleared trails rather than walking through brush.