OMAHA, Neb. -
There are plenty of dangers people face in the woods. Nebraska entomologists warn that it's the worst tick year in more than a decade and the diseases the ticks carry can be devastating.
Video: Entomologists say tick season is worst it has been in decades
Dr. Jonathan Larson, of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Extension Omaha, said that a single acre of wooded area can be home to nearly 20,000 ticks.
"I think some of this dampness that we've had recently with the weather has kind of increased their population," Larson said.
This year, Larson said, they can be anywhere, and that's catching many people and their pets off guard.
"We haven't taken any precautions yet because 99 percent of the time we are in our backyard. Our backyard is pretty clear," dog owner Kristina Carlson said.
"We usually just kind of watch for signs," dog owner Jordan Johnson said. "She scratches more when she has one."
It may be one of the worst tick seasons in more than a decade, but there are things you don't have to worry about: Ticks don't jump off trees, they don't fly through the air
and they certainly don't attach themselves to your body with fangs. In fact, when it comes to their next meal, they don't find people, people find them.
"They are not an Ameer Abdullah or anything," Larson said. "Going through things in dodging and dock. They don't jump from trees. They just kind of wait sit and grab a hold of you."
If people get caught by a tick, then it's time to worry about what the person might catch because of it.
"If you're fed on by the certain tick, you'll have an allergy to red meat," Larson said. "We haven't seen any of that in Nebraska yet, but we're keeping a close eye on the situation."
Larson said the Lonestar tick can cause a near-death allergic reaction if the person eats red meat; anything from trouble breathing to hives, it's an allergy that could last the rest of a person's life.
After a hike, experts said to check for ticks in area where skin is the thinnest, like the back of knees and behind ears.
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