Blech, ticks. They make most people nervous . . . and they can make you pretty sick, too.
This year’s mild winter and wet spring make it a boomer year for ticks. In Minnesota, peak season is April-July and September-October.
Deer ticks (“blacklegged tick”) can carry several diseases that may infect humans. The most common – and dangerous – is Lyme disease.
Lyme Disease is a bacterial infection; if untreated, it can cause facial paralysis, arthritis, short-term memory problems, double vision, chronic fatigue and more. Patients treated with antibiotics in the early stages of Lyme disease usually recover rapidly and completely
Lyme Disease symptoms include:
- Rash that may look like a bulls-eye, a red ring with a clear center (can grow to several inches wide). It might not be itchy or painful – and not everyone gets a rash, and not every rash is a bulls-eye.
- Fever and chills
- Muscle and joint pain
- Feeling tired and weak
Symptoms usually appear within 30 days of a tick bite. If you have any of these symptoms and live in an area known for Lyme Disease, see your healthcare provider.
The good news is, a tick must be attached to your skin for 24-48 hours before it can spread the Lyme Disease bacteria.
The bad news is, deer ticks are so small (picture a sesame seed) that they’re easy to miss, and people often don’t realize they’ve been bitten.
The best protection? Prevent tick bites altogether.
The MINNESOTA?? Department of Health recommends that you:
- Use DEET-based repellents (up to 30%) on skin or clothing. Do not use DEET on infants under 2 months of age.
- Use permethrin-based repellent on clothing and gear to pre-treat for protection up to 2 weeks. Do not apply permethrin to your skin.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants to cover exposed skin. Wearing light-colored clothing helps you spot ticks more easily.
- Check your entire body for ticks at least once a day after spending time in areas where ticks live.
Call your provider if you have any fever or rash. Be sure to tell them if you have spent any time in places where ticks might have been present, even if you don’t remember being bitten.
Learn more here: https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/