Health officials note increase in tick-borne illnesses

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INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - The Indiana State Department of Health is warning Hoosiers to protect themselves after an increase in tick-borne illnesses.

So far in 2018, there have been more than 100 cases of tick-borne illnesses reported in the state. That includes one death from a bacterial illness transmitted by ticks, which rarely happens in Indiana.

There were more than 250 tick-borne illnesses reported in all of 2017.

Jennifer Brown, D.V.M, the state public health veterinarian, said "cases of tick-borne illnesses tend to peak in July." She urges Hoosiers to take precautions when headed outdoors and call your doctor immediately if you get a rash or flu-like illness during the summer. Headache, muscle or joint pain, and fever can also be symptoms.

Doctors say you can reduce your risk of getting a tick bite by wearing a long-sleeved shirt tucked in at the waist and your pants tucked into your socks if you're going to be in a wooded or grassy area.

Once inside, check for ticks on your clothes, skin and pets, then shower to help remove unattached ticks. Putting your clothes in the dryer on high heat for 30 minutes will also kill ticks.