Ticks expected to be more prevalent in North Alabama this year

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - If you enjoyed our mild winter you aren't alone, ticks that live here in North Alabama also did.

"Even in January we had days of 60 something degrees, we didn't have much dormancy in the tick population this year. So, they became active early," said Cheryl Clay, Alabama Department of Health environmentalist

Clay said tick activity is expected to rise this year.

"Most common tick is the Lonestar tick, it has pretty distinct features with the white spot on the back on the adult tick," explained Clay.

Lonestar ticks concern experts because they aggressively seek human and pet hosts.

"We also do have the black legged tick here. Commonly in the northeast and the Midwest it will spread Lyme disease," said Clay.

However, Clay said Lyme disease is not as common in Alabama. She claims the most common tick borne disease in the state is spotted fever.

"If you're going to be out in an area that has tall grass or wooded areas or a lot of vegetation, you have to be thinking about ticks," she said.

The best way to avoid a tick borne disease is to not get a tick bite.

"It's best to wear a long sleeve shirt, long pants, light colored or even white is best so you can easily see the tick," Clay explained.

She also recommends tucking your pants into your socks and wearing an EPA registered insect repellent.

If you start experiencing symptoms like a fever, body aches, or rash after coming in contact with a tick, contact your doctor.