Camping In Michigan This Weekend? Be On The Lookout For Ticks

May 23, 2019 - 9:57 am
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(WWJ) - Summer in Michigan is one of the best times to enjoy the outdoors. But as the weather continues to warm up, it's bringing out one of the state's most feared insects: ticks. 

Anyone who spends time outdoors is urged to protect themselves against Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases by avoiding tick bites.

Ticks travel on their hosts and can be found in many places outdoors, including parks and backyards. Using precaution in areas most likely to be infested with ticks, such as wooded or grassy areas (especially where deer and other wildlife are present), is the best way to avoid potential infection.

If you find a tick attached to your body, quickly remove it and watch for symptoms, including fever, rash, muscle and joint pain, dizziness and a bulls-eye rash. Contact a medical provider if you experience symptoms. Treatment in the early stages of Lyme disease usually leads to complete recovery. 

Tick bites can be prevented by taking a few simple steps. Reduce your risk by:

  • Wearing long-sleeved shirts; light-colored, long pants; and closed-toed shoes
  • Tucking shirts into pants and pants into socks
  • Applying insect repellent containing DEET (20% - 30%) or Picaridin to exposed skin and to clothing
  • Applying permethrin to clothes and shoes (do not apply permethrin to skin)
  • Avoiding contact with overgrown grass, brush and leaf litter
  • Protecting your pets as well, as they can come into contact with ticks and carry them into your home

Check your entire body for ticks immediately after leaving outdoor areas likely to have ticks, and take a hot shower as soon as possible. Help children check their bodies for ticks. If you discover a tick attached to your skin:

  • Grasp the tick with tweezers as close to the skin as possible
  • Pull gently but firmly, but do not squeeze the body of the tick
  • Try to pull the tick out without leaving mouth parts embedded in the skin
  • After removing the tick, wash hands and bite area thoroughly with soap and running water
  • Apply an antibacterial cream to the site of the bite

Michigan citizens can submit ticks to MDHHS for identification and possible Lyme disease testing, free of charge. Residents can also send electronic photos of ticks for identification to MDHHS-Bugs@michigan.gov. For more information on how to submit your tick and/or photos, visit Michigan.gov/lyme.