REGION — Technicians from the San Diego County Vector Control Program this week demonstrated a tick-removal process dubbed “flagging,” in which canvas is dragged through the brush to collect ticks for disease testing and identification.
“This is a collection technique called tick flagging,” officials wrote beside a photo of the technique posted on X. “Technicians drag the canvas through grass and brush, where ticks like to hang out, and then collect the ticks that have latched onto it to bring back to the lab for disease testing and identification.”
Ticks are known carriers of diseases such as tularemia, rocky mountain spotted fever and Lyme disease and are often found in grass, brush and heavily wooded areas, according to county officials.
Ticks are considered “vectors” — insects or other animals who can spread disease to humans. Some other examples of vectors in San Diego County are mosquitoes and rats.
Officials advised these protective measures to help lower exposure to ticks:
— Stay on paths and trails.
— Dress protectively when outdoors.
— Use a repellent containing DEET or Picaridin.
— Check yourself for ticks after an outdoor event or hiking.
Officials advised these methods to remove ticks:
— Grasp the tick with tweezers as close to your skin as possible.
— Pull the tick straight out, using a firm, steady motion. Do not twist, squish, or burn an attached tick.
— Apply an antiseptic to the bite area after removing the tick and wash your hands with soap and water.
— Save the tick for identification. Give it to your doctor or contact the Vector Control Program.
— If redness or pain develops at the tick bite site or the tick cannot be removed, consult a doctor.
The VCP protects public health by surveying for diseases carried by vectors, reducing people’s exposure to vectors and diseases. Additional information about vector removal and the diseases they carry can be found at [email protected].