Ticks can be an annoyance in parts of Washington, particularly lower-elevation brushy and grassy areas in the spring and early summer. They drop onto unsuspecting humans and other animals to suck blood and can spread Lyme disease or relapsing fever, although this is rare in Washington.
When hiking, avoid ticks by tucking pant legs into boots and shirts into pants, using insect repellents containing DEET, and carefully inspecting your clothes while outside. Light-colored clothing (easier to see the ticks) and broad hats may also help. Check your body while hiking and immediately after the trip. If possible, remove ticks before they become embedded in your skin. If one does become attached, use tweezers to gently remove the tick, being sure to get the head. Try not to crush the body since this may release more bacteria. Apply a triple antibiotic ointment such as Neosporin to the area, and monitor the bite area for two weeks. You may want to save the tick in a jar with some damp tissue paper for later identification.
© Ericka Chickowski from Moon Washington, 8th edition