Getting "Ticked Off"

Mountains to marshes, if you live in or visit Georgia, chances are you’ve be closely introduced to its number one resident. The tick.

Not the Tick with his battle cry of “Spoon!” but instead the ticks with their battle cries of “Blood!”.

Ticks are a natural part of Georgia’s environment, so visitors should prepare ahead of time to prevent ticks and always check for ticks after being outdoors.

According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, “Ticks feed by inserting their mouthparts into the skin of their host and slowly sucking in blood. Sometimes humans act as hosts for ticks, causing tick-borne diseases to be an important public health problem.”

Three tick species are most commonly associated with humans in Georgia: the Lone Star tick (Amblyomma americanum), American dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis) and black-legged tick (Ixodes scapularis).

The key to tick bite safety is to wear your battle armor at all times when being outdoors.

  1. Wear long pants. Tuck the pant leg into your socks and tuck your shirt under your belt, preventing the tick from getting under your clothing where it’s harder to find.
  2. Use a repellent. Repellents containing "DEET" are available in many brands and formulations. (If you forget yours most Georgia State Park visitor center’s carry repellents for your convenience.)
  3. Check yourself for ticks at least twice a day. There is evidence that the longer an infected tick feeds, the greater the chance it has of transmitting a disease to you..
  4. Remove embedded ticks with forceps, cloth or paper wrapped around the tick as near to the point of attachment as possible. Use a firm, steady pull. Do not jerk or twist because you may break off the mouthparts and get the site infected.

Enjoy all the beautiful sites and fun things to do at a Georgia State Park but remember tick safety when you’re out and about. For more detailed information and great resource links about ticks please check our website at GaStateParks.org/Safety#ticks. Remember, it’s better to be “ticked off” than “ticked on”!