San Diego County residents urged to avoid tick bites - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

San Diego County residents urged to avoid tick bites

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - County health officials Friday issued tips for residents to avoid tick bites, noting that tick season has begun in the region.

While tick-borne illnesses are rare in San Diego County's urban and suburban areas, people who spend time in the backcountry or in canyons may encounter the blood-sucking arachnids.

Ticks feed on the blood of mammals. They can spread illnesses such as Lyme disease, which can cause neurological symptoms, tularemia -- also known as rabbit fever -- and spotted fever,

The best ways to avoid ticks are:

-- wearing insect repellent approved by the Environmental Protection Agency that contains DEET, picaridin, IR3535, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, or 2 undecanone;

-- staying on designated pathways while hiking or walking;

-- avoiding grass and brush;

-- not handling rodents;

-- Frequently checking your clothing, body and hiking companions for ticks;

-- leaving pets at home or keep them on-leash; and

-- immediately removing a tick if one bites.

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