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ADH warns Arkansans about tick and mosquito threat

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Little Rock, Arkansas — The Arkansas Department of Health is encouraging all Arkansas to be cautious when it comes to insect bites, as we enter the warm weather season.

According to the ADH, Arkansas has some of the highest rates for mosquito and tick-borne illnesses nationwide. These illnesses can be hard to diagnose and treat. They can also be fatal.

According to Laura Rothfeldt, state public health vet with the ADH, staying on the trails when hiking, removing leaves and brush from around your home, and regularly cleaning any body of open water that could attract insects is recommended. “We want to encourage everybody to enjoy the outdoors, but to enjoy it with caution and understand that we have to live with ticks and mosquitoes. Unfortunately, they’re here to stay. Can’t get rid of them but what we can do is try to protect ourselves and also just use some methods to do some checks afterward,” Rothfeldt said.

When you spend time outdoors check yourself for any new insect bites. If you discover a tick bite there are specific methods to remove it. “You’re just going to grip as close as you can to the skin with tweezers or your gloved fingers and pull straight up,” said Rothfeldt. “Don’t twist because you don’t want to squeeze the tick or inject anything into you that might be inside the tick.”

Several products that can decrease your chances of getting an unwanted insect bite are also recommended. “Use an EPA-approved insecticide product that has DEET or one of the other EPA-approved chemicals. As well as you can use permethrin on your clothing or your shoes and items,” said Rothfeldt.

These various items can be purchased online or in stores.

 

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