Tick Season Upon Us, Health Department has Tips to Protect from Tick-Borne Illnesses
Tick season is upon us, and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says tick-borne illnesses are expanding across the state.
Ticks can spread multiple illnesses, but Lyme disease is the most commonly reported tick-borne disease in Michigan.
It’s caused by a bacteria carried by the tick, and is transmitted by the blacklegged, or deer tick.
That tick is well established in both peninsulas according to the MDHHS and is continuing to expand into new areas across the lower peninsula.
They have been reported in more than half of Michigan’s 83 counties.
People can protect themselves against Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases by following these tips:
Avoid tick-infested areas.
Walk in the center of trails to avoid contact with overgrown grass, brush and leaf litter at trail edges.
Protect your pets too! Dogs and cats can come into contact with ticks outdoors and bring them into the home, so using tick prevention products on pets is also recommended.
Use insect repellent.
- Apply repellent containing DEET (20-30 percent) or Picaridin on exposed skin.
- Treat clothes (especially pants, socks and shoes) with permethrin, which kills ticks on contact or buy clothes that are pre-treated. Do not use permethrin directly on skin.
- Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when applying repellents.
Perform daily tick checks.
- Always check for ticks on yourself and your animals after being outdoors, even in your own yard.
- Inspect all body surfaces carefully, and remove attached ticks with tweezers.
- To remove a tick, grasp the tick firmly and as closely to the skin as possible. With a steady motion, pull the tick’s body away from the skin. Cleanse the area with an antiseptic.
Bathe or shower.
- Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors (preferably within two hours) to wash off and more easily find ticks that are crawling on you.
- Washing clothing in hot water and drying on high heat will kill ticks in clothing.
Michigan citizens can submit ticks to MDHHS for identification and possible Lyme disease testing, free of charge. Or residents can send electronic photos of ticks to the MDHHS for identification toMDHHS-Bugs@michigan.gov. For more information on how to submit your tick and/or photos, visitMichigan.gov/lyme.