Ticks can carry Lyme disease!
The Mid-Michigan District Health Department is reminding members of the community to keep an eye out for ticks. While ticks are tiny, they can pack quite a punch, especially the blacklegged/deer tick, which can transmit Lyme disease.
Symptoms of Lyme disease include fever, chills, headache, muscle and joint pain, and a bull’s-eye rash at the site of the bite. If not properly diagnosed and left untreated, infection can spread to the joints, the heart, and the nervous system.
The best defense against Lyme disease is prevention. Try to avoid shady, moist areas in wooded and grassy locations, as these are the preferred hiding spots for ticks. If you do need to venture into these areas, walk on well groomed trails and avoid contact with overgrown grass, brush, and leaves.
Other prevention tips include:
- Apply repellent containing DEET or Picaridin to exposed skin, following manufacturer’s instructions.
- Spray clothes with permethrin, which kills ticks on contact.
- Wear enclosed shoes, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt.
- Tuck pants into socks or boots.
- Use tick prevention products on your pets.
After returning from potentially tick-infested areas, check yourself for ticks and shower immediately to wash off and find ticks that may be on you. Ticks can attach to any part of the body, but are commonly found in the hairline, ears, waistline, groin, armpits, and sock line. Do not forget about your pets; be sure to check them for ticks as well.
If you find a tick attached to you or your pet, remove it promptly to decrease the chance of infection. Using fine-tipped tweezers, grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible. Slowly and gently pull upward with steady, even pressure. After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the area and your hands with soap and water and apply an antiseptic to the bite wound.
If you experience a fever, rash, or muscle or joint aches within several weeks of removing a tick, be sure to see your doctor. Patients treated with appropriate antibiotics in the early stages of Lyme disease usually recover quickly.
For more information, visit Michigan.gov/lyme,