Tick Population On the Rise in Michigan


Headed on vacation this year? To the western shores of Michigan or maybe the UP? If you're not careful you could end up with more than a tan. Tick-borne illnesses are on the rise in those parts of the state.

"We are beginning to see the tick population spread. The way that they spread is not that they just walk across county lines. They get on the host, and then the host travels elsewhere. That could be deer, it could be humans, it could be animals," said Angela Minicuci, of the Michigan Dept. of Community Health

Not all ticks carry disease, but Michigan is seeing more cases every year. Lyme Disease is not uncommon in ticks found in the woods or grassy beach areas of popular Michigan vacation destinations.

"The way that a tick works and the way that they attach to a host is that they go to the top of very tall grass or a bush, and they wait on a branch or a piece of grass, maybe on the beach, and they wait for someone to walk by and grab on to them," said Minicucci.

If you don't rub against those types of plants, it's unlikely that you will be bitten. But if you're planning on taking a stroll through a wooded area there are a few things you can do to avoid contracting a tick-borne illness:

-Wear an insect repellent that contains DEET.

-Wear long pants or tall socks.

-Perform a quick tick check on yourself and your animals following a walk in the woods.

-If you are bitten, remove the tick right away.

"And you try to use the fine point tweezers as close to your skin as possible, right at the mouth part of the tick and pulling back directly, so as not envenomate yourself," said Dr. Timothy Hodge, at the Sparrow Emergency Dept

And of course, watch for signs and symptoms in the weeks following a bite.

"The most common symptoms of Lyme Disease are muscle aches, headache. And Lyme Disease has a rash. This rash is circular and has red borders, and sometimes it expands. It's not always at the site of the tick bite either. It can come up other places," said Dr. Hodge.

If you experience any of those symptoms, see your doctor right away.


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