How To Stay Safe During Tick Season

How To Stay Safe During Tick Season

MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP - Summer means spending time outdoors and having fun in the sun, but it also brings tick season.

Typically between April and September, Michigan residents should remember to be aware of tall grass and check for ticks.

Meridian Township Parks and Recreation Land Stewardship Coordinator Emma Campbell said that Ingham County has a low risk of black-legged ticks with Lyme bacteria.

"We have less than 1% occurrence of Lyme disease in Ingham County," Campbell said. "So that's really good, that's really low, so, don't have to freak out too much, but again Lyme disease is serious so everyone just needs to stay vigilant."

Here are some tips the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has for tick bite prevention:

-Avoid tick-infested areas and walk in the center of trails to avoid long grass.
-Make sure to check yourself and your pets after going outdoors.
-Use insect repellent with DEET or Picaridin on exposed skin. For repellent specifically for clothes, do not use directly on skin.
-Bathe or shower within two hours after coming indoors to wash off ticks.
-Wash clothing to kill ticks in clothing and wash with hot water and dry on high heat.

If you see a tick on you, promptly remove it with tweezers then cleanse the area with antiseptic.

If not removed or you have been bitten by a tick, symptoms can develop within a few weeks according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Symptoms range from fever, chills, rash and aches and pains. Most cases of tick-borne diseases can be treated at home using antibiotics and it is best to get early treatment.

After receiving a tick bite, it takes anywhere from 26 to 36 hours for the disease to transmit, Campbell said. That is why she stressed the importance of thoroughly checking yourself after going outside.

Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne disease in Michigan according to MDHHS, however not all ticks carry the same germs. That is why MDHHS offers a free service for residents to submit photos of ticks for identification.

Campbell said the best thing to do if you are unsure about the identification of a tick, is to extract it from your skin and take it with you to the doctor.

"When you do remove it, it's a good idea to keep it, which you can keep it in a sealed container freezer because you can always take it into the doctor with you and they can identify it," Campbell said.

The Meridian Township Parks and Recreation Department have received CDC deer ticks signs, Campbell said. They will be put in the township's land preserves during late summer to fall.

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