Tick encounters rising as Michigan weather warms

LANSING, Mich. – (WLNS) – Now that the days and nights are getting warmer officials are reminding us to keep a sharp eye out for unwanted pests that carry a dangerous disease.

May is considered a peak time for deer ticks in Michigan. Deer ticks can carry *lyme disease* , which can cause muscle weakness, numbness and heart problems.

According to the Centers for Disease Control there are some steps you can take to prevent tick bites.

PREVENTING TICK BITES

– Avoid brushy areas with tall grass and leaf debris
– Use repellents that contain 20 to 30% DEET on exposed skin and clothing for protection that lasts up to several hours. Always follow product instructions. Parents should apply this product to their children, avoiding hands, eyes, and mouth.
– Use products that contain permethrin on clothing. Treat clothing and gear, such as boots, pants, socks and tents with products containing 0.5% permethrin.
– Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants whenever possible while hiking through areas where ticks may live

Even with the best planning it’s still possible to be bitten by a tick. MSU officials suggest removing the tick by the head.

REMOVING A TICK

– Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.
– Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.
– After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.
– Dispose of a live tick by submersing it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag/container, wrapping it tightly in tape, or flushing it down the toilet. Never crush a tick with your fingers.

Prior to 2002 there had been a vaccine to prevent Lyme disease. That vaccine is no longer available. The vaccine manufacturer discontinued production in 2002, citing insufficient consumer demand. According to the CDC, since protection provided by this vaccines diminishes over time, if you received the Lyme disease vaccine before 2002, you are probably no longer protected against Lyme disease.

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