Tick population up in Michigan, experts warn

Published: Jun. 7, 2019 at 11:06 PM EDT
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Medical professionals say they're seeing more tick bites this season and they believe climate change may to blame.

News 10's Cryss Walker tells us what you need to know to keep your family and pets safe.

A day of hunting, fishing or even a walk in the woods can expose you to ticks.

Dog and deer ticks are common in Mid-Michigan but deer ticks can pose a serious threat.

“The nymphal form of the deer ticks which is what carries the bacteria that causes Lyme Disease is about as big as a poppy seed so super small,” said Dr. Melody Angel from Lansing Urgent Care.

Dr. Angel says the difference between the two ticks can be identified by color and size.

“This is what we usually see is the dog tick,” Dr. Angel explained.

“There's light markings on the back of those.”

Ticks feed off the blood of both humans and animals and are known to nestle in high grass, brush, wood-chips and leaf litter.

“The mouth parts of the tick goes in your skin but the tick does not,” said Dr. Williams Schultz of Schultz Veterinary Clinic in Okemos.

“You take either a hemostat, or forceps or tweezers and grab right at the base of the base of the head and pull them out.”

Dr. Schultz told News 10 Michigan's tick population is on the rise.

“Ten or 15 years ago in an entire summer if we saw three or four dogs with that was a lot,” Dr. Schultz said.

“We see that almost every week now. Climate change, that's exactly what it is. The weather's warmer. We're seeing changes.”

Spraying your yard with pesticides can keep ticks away.

Clothing repellents are also useful.

Tick collars, topicals and oral medicines are recommended for dogs.

Ticks should be removed as soon as possible.

Risks for infection increases 24-48 hours after attachment.

Experts say it's important to check your body for ticks after a day outdoors.

Showering within two hours of coming inside is also recommended.

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