While you may be spending much of your summer enjoying the outdoors, Guthrie County Public Health gives recommendations to avoid bringing an unwelcome guest home.

Public Health Director Jotham Arber says cases of Lyme disease in Iowa have been reported this year, which is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected tick. The earliest sign of infection is a rash that will appear in around 60-80% of patients. Other possible symptoms include mild eye infections, paralysis of facial muscles, muscle and joint pain, and fatigue.

Arber advises the best way to avoid tick bites is to avoid wooded or grassy areas, wear insect repellent and long sleeved shirts and pants tucked into socks or boots. He also warns people to check themselves and pets for ticks once you’re home, “Looking at the back of your legs and ankles and all around those areas where they like to get. Making sure that you’re combing through your hair so that they haven’t found their way to your hair and embedded themselves. And then just kind of making sure to take a shower is a good way to check for that, but doing all of those things is a great way to keep yourself healthy when you’re going for walks and protecting yourself against potential tick borne illnesses.”

Arber adds that attached ticks should be removed promptly, grasping the tick with tweezers by the mouthparts and then cleaning and disinfecting the site of the bite. To hear more about ticks and mosquitoes from Arber, listen to today’s Let’s Talk Guthrie County program on air and at raccoonvalleyradio.com.