Castor bean tick (Ixodes ricinus)

In Northbrook, ticks are most active in the Spring from April through June. These parasitic arachnids are most commonly found around wooded areas, tall grass or brush. Infected ticks are known to transmit diseases through their bites. It is best to always check for ticks after being in natural spaces, such as areas located in Wood Oaks Green Park and Techny Prairie Park and Fields.

The Forest Preserves of Cook County recommends the following when it comes to protecting yourself against tick bites:

  • Walk in the center of trails when possible so vegetation doesn’t brush against you.
  • Use repellent that contains 20 to 30 percent DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) on exposed skin. Always follow product instructions.
  • Use products that contain permethrin to treat clothing and gear, such as boots, pants (especially the cuffs), socks and tents. Alternatively, look for clothing pre-treated with permethrin.
  • Tuck long pants into your socks and boots. Wearing light-colored pants makes ticks easier to see.
  • In heavily wooded areas or in tall grass and brush, check yourself, children and other family members every two to three hours for ticks (especially ears, hair, neck, legs and between the toes).
  • If you let your pets outdoors, check them often for ticks. Ticks can “hitch a ride” on your pets, but fall off in your home before they feed.

If you find a tick on yourself, your child or on a pet, remove it promptly. According to the Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH), the most effective way to remove a tick is to grasp it with fine-point tweezers as close to the skin as possible and gently (but firmly) pull it straight out. Do not twist or jerk the tick. Once the tick has been removed, wash the bite area and your hands with soap and water, and then apply an antiseptic to the bite site.

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) recommends that you consult your physician if the mouthpart of the tick breaks off in the process of removing it. Common symptoms from tick-related illnesses may include fever, chills, aches and pains and/or a rash. Early recognition and treatment of an infection decreases the risk of more serious complications.

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