Black legged tick found in Southeast MI

Our changing climate, as discussed in a recent MI Radio report, is giving ticks the opportunity to gain a stronger foothold in Southeastern Michigan. Knowing how to avoid and remove ticks is smart summertime safety, as ticks can spread disease to you, your family, and your pets.

How to avoid ticks: When on a hike, walk in the center of the trail. Wear light colored clothing to make ticks easy to spot. Apply an insect repellent containing at least 20% DEET. Consider wearing clothing treated with permethrin when hiking or working in wooded areas.  After returning from a possible exposure area, consider placing clothes in a dryer on high heat for at least 60 minutes. This will kill the ticks. In Southeast Michigan, the greatest time of risk is from April through September.

How to remove a tick: Ticks are skillful at attaching themselves to skin, and it’s difficult to remove them. Use fine tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin surface as possible. Pull at a perpendicular angle to the skin surface until the tick lets go. Remove a tick as quickly as possible to decrease the length of exposure.  Avoid “breaking” the tick. Any small pieces left in the skin could cause a localized infection. You may also visit us at Lakes Urgent Care for this procedure.

If a bite gets infected: Initial signs and symptoms include itching, burning, and redness in a circular fashion around the tick bite. Sometimes that rash can proceed to what is called a bull’s-eye lesion with concentric red circles around the bite area. If the disease is going to progress, you’ll start to have flu-like symptoms including muscle aches, fatigue, headache, and fever.

If you begin to experience any of these symptoms, immediately see your primary care physician or a certified urgent care like Lakes Urgent Care for diagnosis and treatment.

Additional links and information:

There’s a tick boom in Michigan – Here are 5 things you should know

It’s tick season: Here’s what you need to know