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How to protect yourself from ticks and mosquitoes this spring

As we all get ready to spend more time outdoors, the Arkansas Department of Health wants you to protect yourself from tick and mosquito bites.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — As Arkansans prepare to spend more time outdoors this spring and summer, the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) wants people to protect themselves from tick and mosquito bites.

Dr. Laura Rothfeldt, the state public health veterinarian, said ticks are starting to come out now. You might see some mosquitoes out and about too, but she said they become more of an issue during May and June.

"It's something we have to live with," Rothfeldt said.

Both pests carry diseases that can be transmitted to humans and animals.

"Both ticks and mosquitoes can carry diseases that can be transmitted to both people and animals," Rothfeldt said. "Not all ticks can do that, and not all mosquitoes can do that. But certainly, you can't pick and choose which one you're going to be bitten by."

According to ADH, prevention is the best defense against becoming infected with a mosquito or tick-borne disease.

Here are prevention tips from ADH:

  • Use an EPA-approved insect repellant as directed.
  • Use permethrin on your clothing as directed.
  • Wear long sleeves and pants. Light-colored clothing makes it easier to spot ticks. Tuck your pants into socks or boots.
  • Check for ticks on yourself, your children, and your pets regularly. Remove ticks quickly if one is found.
  • To avoid ticks, walk in the middle of a hiking trail or path; avoid tall grass and leaf litter.
  • To reduce mosquitoes around your home, get rid of any standing water on your property. Mosquitoes can breed in as little as a bottle cap full of water.