LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The Arkansas Department of Health says Arkansans should take precautions against ticks and mosquitoes as they enjoy the outdoors during the summer months.

According to state health officials, Arkansas has some of the highest rates in the country for tick-borne diseases, such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrlichiosis and Tularemia.

Ticks can also carry anaplasmosis, Lyme disease and Heartland virus.

Mosquitoes in Arkansas can carry West Nile Virus and other less common diseases, according to ADH.

Health officials said some of these diseases can be fatal as well as difficult to diagnose and treat.

If someone is bit by a tick, they should look out for fever, chills, rash, fatigue as well as aches and pains within the next few weeks after the bite. ADH encourages people to see a medical provider quickly if these symptoms occur.

Both tick and mosquito bites can be prevented in similar ways, including:

  • 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.

Health officials say ticks should be removed by positioning tweezers as close to the skin as possible and lifting up on the tick firmly. ADH says people should not twist or jerk the tick or use home remedies such as petroleum jelly, heat or waiting for the tick to fall off.

For more information on insect-related diseases on the Arkansas Department of Health’s website HERE.