Michigan sees uptick in mid-winter tick bites
“The ticks are out, and very active.”
LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - You might think of ticks as a summertime concern, but experts said you and your furry friend are at risk for Lyme disease year-round.
Michigan’s tick season is from April to September, but ticks can be active anytime it’s above freezing.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said because of warmer weather, Michigan’s tick population has been growing over the past few years. As Michigan’s tick population grows, winter tick bites have become more common. They used to be much rarer, but this winter, some local vets are seeing tick bites weekly.
“Just about an hour ago, I picked a tick off of the head of a dog,” said Dr. Eric Eyde, Vet and owner of Evergreen Veterinary Clinic. “The conversation I had with the owner was, ‘I didn’t think I needed to put prevention on the dog because we don’t have ticks in the winter.’”
Even in the winter, Evergreen Veterinary Clinic sees at least one tick bite a week. For Michigan’s pet owners, Dr. Eyde recommends using a preventative treatment year-round. MDHHS recommends the same thing.
“Ticks carry lots of diseases, we have seen a ton of Lyme disease here in the last two years,” said Dr. Eyde.
Transmitted through tick bites, Lyme disease can be fatal if not treated soon enough. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said if you’re in natural areas, stick to the trails and complete full-body tick checks afterward. If a tick comes home on you or your pet, you could end up with thousands of ticks in your home.
“Once they get nice and full they’ll drop off, and then they’ll go lay even up to a couple of thousand eggs where they drop off,” said Dr. Eyde.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said they’ve seen an “up-tick” in mid-winter tick bites as well. While they’re still much less frequent than summer-time bites, all bites are preventable.
“Humans are to wear long pants and sleeves, to tuck their pants inside their socks, wear insect repellent, there are all sorts of ways that we can prevent tick bites to people.” said Emily Dinh, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
“The ticks are out, and very active.” said Dr. Eyde.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said many people get Lyme disease without ever seeing a tick or a tick bite. The early signs of Lyme disease include a circular rash, headaches, a fever or chills and body aches or fatigue.
A deadly case of Lyme disease is rare, but the longer you go without proper treatment, the more likely you are to experience long-term impacts.
If you think you or your pet has been bitten, call your healthcare provider or veterinarian as soon as possible.
- Michigan lawmakers hear proposal to ban guns at polling locations
- Michigan State University lifts COVID-19 vaccine requirement
- Crews work to restore power after ice storms leave thousands of Michiganders in the dark
- 22-year-old Kalamazoo man sentenced to 70 months for possessing a firearm on parole
Subscribe to our News 10 newsletter and receive the latest local news and weather straight to your email every morning.
Copyright 2023 WILX. All rights reserved.