Montana's tick season is in full swing. Throughout the United States, many are worried about the threat of ticks spreading Lyme disease, but according to Montana State Entomologist with the Department of Agriculture, Cam Lay, Montanans have different diseases to worry about.

"There are several tick born diseases," Lay said. "The most prevalent is Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, we know that that is here. There's also a rare but not unknown tick paralysis associated with some of the dermacentor ticks that usually resolves without complications when the tick is removed. I believe we have had some incidences of Lyme disease, but according to what I hear from folks at the health department there's no real good evidence that Lyme is established and endemic to Montana,"

Luckily, there's a pretty simple way to prevent most of these diseases.

"Really, the best things for ticks is just to be aware that if you go outside here in Montana, particularity this time of year, you're probably gonna get ticks on you." Lay said. "Treat your clothing if your going to be out for a while, treat your skin, and check yourself when you get back to the car. It takes a tick a good long time to start transmitting diseases. Just because its attached doesn't mean your gonna get sick, it has to be attached, engorged, and on you for quite some time."

Lay says the best way to remove a tick is with a pair of fine tweezers or with a tick removal device. The key is to grip the head and pull the whole thing out. Lay advices people not to use a match, nail polish, or to squeeze the tick's body, doing these things may make the tick regurgitate bacteria back into the wound.

Cam Lay

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