Tips To Avoid Ticks While Enjoying Outdoor Activities This Summer McLaren Health News


These tiny insects can spread Lyme disease

This summer, thousands of Michigan residents flock to campgrounds, golf courses, hiking trails, and hiking trails in or surrounded by woods. Whether their adventure takes place in the western Upper Peninsula, along the Lake Michigan coast, or further inland in the southern part of the state, they will share the great outdoors with ticks. Many of them.

There has been a significant increase in the state’s tick population this year. This explosion led many Michiganders to review precautionary measures to reduce the risk of being bitten by ticks.

Protect yourself by covering as much skin as possible when traveling to grassy or wooded areas. Wearing a hat, long-sleeved shirt, and long pants with the legs tucked into socks can help. You can also use an insect repellant that contains a chemical such as DEET, IR3535, or Picaridin. Always check clothes after being outside, remove any ticks and throw the clothes in a dryer and run it on the high heat cycle for an hour to kill any remaining ticks. You should also take a shower within two hours of entering.

“Most tick bites will resolve on their own and will not lead to Lyme disease,” said Jennifer Edwards-Johnson, DO, of the practice of McLaren Flint’s family medicine residency group. “But you better avoid getting bitten in the first place.”


If a tick is stuck on your skin, Dr Edwards-Johnson says it’s important to remove it as quickly as possible. But if the tick is already engorged, it would be best to have it removed by a healthcare professional. The best way to remove a tick is to use tweezers to grab it by the head and mouth so it doesn’t get stuck in your skin when the tick is moved away from where it is attached.

“The bacteria that causes Lyme disease are transmitted through the tick’s saliva,” said Dr. Edwards-Johnson. “That’s why you want to do your best to pull the mouth away from the skin.”

Leaving a tick’s head and mouth in the skin does not increase the risk of tick-borne disease. However, it can increase the risk of infection and should not be left in the body. If a tick is attached to an open area of ​​skin, it is easy to tell if its head and mouth came loose when it was removed. This may be more difficult to do if a tick is embedded in an area of ​​your body where there is a lot of hair.

If a tick is not attached to your skin, a red bump resembling a mosquito bite or rash may be a sign of a tick bite, especially if the bump is not itchy and goes away after a few days. .

Female blacklegged ticks, also called deer ticks, are responsible for the spread of Lyme disease. Adult male deer ticks attach themselves to humans for food, but they do not stay attached long enough to transmit the disease. A female blacklegged tick usually needs to be attached to someone for 36 hours or more for Lyme disease to develop. However, it can be difficult to determine how long a tick has latched onto someone, as the time it takes for it to visibly become engorged can vary from two to 30 hours.

“Unfortunately, because there is an anesthetic in the saliva of ticks, most people don’t know they’ve been bitten,” Dr. Edwards-Johnson added. “They could be bitten in areas where they wouldn’t normally check, such as behind the ears or under the waistband of their clothes.”


Antibiotic treatments are available for patients who appear to have been attached to a blacklegged tick for 36 hours or more and who have recently traveled to an area where Lyme disease is prevalent and / or have symptoms, such as rash, fever or chills.

If left untreated, Lyme disease can cause many problems. A person can develop serious symptoms, such as swelling and pain in the joints, much like those associated with arthritis, as well as tingling and numbness in the hands, feet, and back. Some may also experience low energy, difficulty concentrating, poor memory, and even facial weakness or paralysis.

“Treatment should be prolonged observation,” said Dr. Edwards-Johnson. “We will often prescribe antibiotics for you, but that does not exempt you from having to be rechecked by your doctor. There are such late effects with Lyme disease that we absolutely want people to follow up with their primary care physicians. “

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