As the weather warms up in the Southland, one expert is warning of a tick takeover outdoors that could cause serious health risks if not addressed properly, and he has his own story of tick trouble to prove it.
David Matian, DO attended a Scouts retreat in the Santa Monica Mountains over the weekend with his two young daughters. By the end of the night, he was treating half a dozen people with tick bites.
"They came in to see me with ticks actually attached to them or remnants of the ticks that were previously removed," Matian told KCBS-TV.
He said in all his years of practicing medicine and growing up in Southern California, he has never seen this bug problem so severe.
"The people that I saw came to me with either bumps on them, rashes, a little prickling sensation or, in some cases, the actual mite hanging of your skin," Matian said.
The CDC said infections from mosquitoes, fleas and ticks have tripled in recent years, bringing with them diseases like Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and the possibility of the Zika virus.
The warm weather and recent rains have exacerbated the tick problem in Southern California.
"You should really see a doctor if you get bitten by a tick because they can remove it correctly, and they can do additional testing and treatment," suggested Matian.
Matian provided the following tips on how to prevent getting bitten by ticks:
Cover up outside to avoid exposed skin.
Buy pre-treated clothes with insecticide or spray yourself, making sure to look for the ingredient Permethrin.
Use insect repellent on your skin and make sure to reapply.
Use DEET with a minimum of 20 percent.
Use natural repellents like lemon oil.
Matian said despite instructions online on how to correctly remove ticks, you should always go to a doctor to have the pests removed.