Michiganders urged to protect selves against ticks - WNEM TV 5

Michiganders urged to protect selves against ticks

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Source: Michigan DNR Source: Michigan DNR

Tick season is here, and Michigan residents are being urged to protect ourselves.

Although ticks can spread multiple illnesses, Lyme disease is the most commonly reported tick-born disease in Michigan, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS).

Lyme disease is transmitted by the blacklegged/deer tick that is well-established in the state’s western Upper and Lower Peninsulas. It is also spreading into new areas, including Mid-Michigan.

MORE: Lyme disease risk continues to spread in Michigan

Lyme disease infected ticks have been identified in 34 of Michigan’s 83 counties.

In 2017, there were more than 300 human cases of Lyme disease reported, and approximately two out of three cases reported exposure in Michigan.

“With the expansion of blacklegged ticks into new areas in Michigan, the best way to protect against Lyme disease is to prevent tick bites,” said Dr. Eden Wells, MDHHS chief medical executive. “If you find a tick attached to your body, promptly remove it. Monitor your health, and if you experience fever, rash, muscle or joint aches or other symptoms, consult with your medical provider.”

You can submit ticks to MDHHS for identification and possible Lyme disease testing, free of charge. You can also send in pictures to the MDHHS for identification to MDHHS-Bugs@michigan.gov.

MORE: 5 most common ticks in Michigan

Below are some steps you can take to protect yourself against Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases:

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.

MORE: CDC apologizes for gross muffin post involving ticks

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