With the unseasonably warmer temperatures last week, researchers at Michigan State University say, ticks are making their way above ground earlier than usual this year.
And some of them, could be carrying Lyme Disease.
Those small insects can turn a tiny bite into a big problem.
One that Dr. Jean Tsao, MSU Associate Professor of Fisheries and Wildlife and Large Animal Clinical Sciences says is already something you need to be watching out for this season.
“If it gets warm enough, above 32, 38 degrees daytime nighttime, it will become active as long as you have a few days of those temperatures,” says Tsao.
Tsao says, there are a few different types of ticks here in Ingham County.
The Dog Tick and the Black-Legged Tick.
She says, the Black-Legged Ticks are the ones you should watch out for.
They carry a bacteria that can lead to Lyme Disease.
According to the CDC, early symptoms of Lyme Disease are similar to the common cold.
Fever, chills, fatigue, and a rash at the site of the bite.
If not caught, could lead to inflammation of the brain and spinal cord, nerve pain, or problems with short-term memory.
But for Tsao and her students, hunting down ticks is one of their favorite things to do.
By dragging a white cloth across a wooded area, they’re able to determine how abundant ticks are.
While tick season isn’t for a few months, she says, the warmer temperatures have already caused a lot of them to emerge.
“We had also been getting reports from just collegues saying that they were working out in the yards over the weekend and they had gotten ticks on themselves, so we went out and swept with the drag cloth and got about 41 ticks in about an hour and a half,” says Tsao.
So what can you do, if you’ve been enjoying the warmer temps and think you may have been in an area where ticks are present.
Tsao says, check yourself over.
If you find a tick, use tweezers to pull it straight out.
Take a shower as soon as possible.
Throw your clothes in the dryer on high heat to kill any remaining ticks.
And make sure your pet is up to date with flea medication.