Ticks Take Hold in Michigan
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Michigan is one of the states greatly affected by tick-borne diseases this spring and summer due to our rapidly changing weather over the past year. Ticks tend to live in moist and humid environments, usually in wooded, brushy, or grassy areas. With this past winter’s wet conditions, the ticks are very active right this year.
The seriousness of tick bites is on the rise. Physicians are alerting their patients on the need for proper protection when engaging in outdoor activity. Tick bites can infect humans with bacteria, viruses, and parasites that can cause serious illness. If left untreated the infection can spread to the joints, heart and nervous system.
Richard Van Enk, director of infection prevention and epidemiology at Bronson Healthcare, explained in a recent interview with Newschannel 3 that “We thought ticks only carried one disease, and that was Lyme Disease. The new finding about ticks is that we think they carry up to a dozen different infectious diseases.” The list includes Lyme disease, Babesiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Powassan disease and several others.
With this in mind, be sure to protect yourself when gardening, hiking and playing in the grass this summer. Van Enk says “usually, ticks like to sit on the tips of tall grass and when a suitable host walks near they can easily jump and attach. The ticks then look for a place to hide.”
The CDC provides these easy tips to keep the ticks away this summer:
- Use insect repellent with high levels of DEET and Lemon Eucalyptus oils.
- Steer clear of infected areas.
- Check under the arms, around ears, around the waist, back and front of legs.
- Shower after engaging in outdoor activity.
As soon as you notice you’ve been bit by a tick, carefully remove it with a tweezers. The CDC tick removal site provides specific instructions.
Symptoms of a tick-borne illness to keep an eye out for include, but aren’t limited to:
- Red spot or rash near the bite site that forms to look like a target.
- Headache, fever, nausea.
- Body stiffness and muscle pain.
Van Enk warns “if you've been bitten by an infected tick, symptoms can appear 24 to 48 hours after transmission. Seek medical attention if symptoms worsen, because there are some treatments that we can give you that will reduce the risk of tick borne diseases.”
To contact your primary care physician or to find a doctor, visit our website. For walk-in care, visit one of our FastCare locations.